In a previous blog on gaytravel.com, I have already given notice of the fact that gay travel and Italy
are not usually synonymous, and that the LGBT movement itself has any number of obstacles,
both political and cultural, to overcome in this wonderful country. Italy lags behind many other
European nations in terms of openness toward gays and lesbians, and though it’s making progress,
but there’s still a long way to go.
That’s why it’s always so invigorating to find people with the courage to take their private
and professional lives into the uncertain waters of gay travel. Recently I made the acquaintance of
a new tour operator in Sicily, Sicily In & Out, that offers gay-friendly experiences on that
spectacular island and which proudly announces itself as being gay-owned. Of course, it’s not
entirely true that they are a new tour operator: its owners have decades of experience each in travel,
but it is their new publicly gay-friendly identity that has changed.
This takes courage in Italy, and perhaps even more so in Palermo, as co-owner Marcello
Stella told me. Sicily has a reputation, deserved or not, of being more socially-conservative than
the rest of Italy, and so running a tour operator there with a LGBT slant requires real guts.
Thankfully, there are people around with that sort of backbone. And so if you’ve never been to Sicily, well, what have you been waiting for? A cultural, historical, culinary, and natural gem of the Mediterranean, and now even gay-friendly? There are no more excuses.
Written by Douglas Heise.
Doug runs Voyager, a tour operator in Italy's Cinque Terre that offers gay-friendly tours.