Ah, Venice, the grand city of canals and romantic waterways. This floating city resides on the water in Italy and stretches across several small islands in the northeastern quadrant of the country. Compared to many other Italian cities it is considered to be much more subdued in terms of noise and chaos, but Venice is still a city bustling with activity. Here is a place where the gay traveler should truly feel at home away from home.
Be prepared to get lost in this romantic city as you take a trip back into history. While in Venice, you’ll never run out of places to visit and things to do. The stunning architecture of Gothic and Renaissance basilicas and palazzos is truly a site to see, not to mention Venice’s famous artwork.
On a simple stroll down the avenues in Venice, you’ll find numerous art galleries filled with gorgeous artwork from across the centuries. In fact, there are so many art galleries that any traveler would be lost figuring out where to start. Art is far from the only attraction Venice has to offer, however, and any traveler would be amiss to pass up a night traveling along the hundreds of intricate canals that run through the city. This romantic destination is perfect for travelers of all types looking for inspiration and culture.
Venice Gay Scene
Venice is a very gay-friendly destination where LGBT travelers should have no worries feeling safe and comfortable. Venice doesn’t have many clearly defined gay areas, as the gay scene is well integrated into the city. Head over to Padua or Padova for a night out at the clubs, to hop among the local bars or relax in the world-famous saunas.
Homosexuality is legal in Italy. The national LGBT organization, Arcigay, advertises and hosts gay-friendly events throughout the country, so travelers visiting Venice can plan their itineraries accordingly. However, Venice itself has much to offer for any visitor, putting this famous destination on the must-see list for globetrotters of all orientations.
There are few destinations more prized for its cuisine than Italy, and any gay traveler will have no shortage of dining options in Venice.
This cozy tavern features over 200 wines by the glass and a selection of seasonal Venetian specialties. Vino Vino is a local gem that gets crowded on a daily basis, making it an excellent place to people-watch and get immersed in the local scene.
La Zucca sits right on a canal and features phenomenal vegetarian Venetian cuisine. Make a reservation before you go, as this tiny location gets packed most nights with locals and visitors alike enjoying the romantic view and amazing fresh meals. Local favorites include the vegetarian lasagna and pumpkin ginger soup.
While Venice has few official gay bars, LGBT travelers need not worry about visiting any of the local spots for a good time. A couple of gay bars do exist for those who know where to find them.
One of the few gay bars in Venice, both local and traveling gays frequent this bustling nightlife hotspot, particularly during special event nights.
I Due Girasoli *LGBTQ-Owned
This charming bar is owned by a pair of lesbians and has a hip, funky vibe. I Due Girasoli doubles as a restaurant during dining hours and opens up to dancing later in the night.
Gay-Friendly Activities & Destinations
Whether you’re looking for a cultural education, a trip through time or simply a relaxing vacation in a beautiful locale, Venice has you covered.
Snag this Vaporetto, or water bus, at the central train station for a journey down Venice’s Grand Canal. This is the ideal time to photograph the city’s canal-front Gothic, Renaissance and Moorish palaces, as well as establish your bearings among the three bridges crossing the waterway.
This famous Venetian destination was erected around 1000 A.D., making this a must-see for any history buff. The tomb was built to house the remains of Saint Mark, stolen back from Egypt inside a barrel of pork. Inside the Basilica is the magnificent Pala d’Oro, a golden altarpiece covered in priceless gems.
One of the most visited attractions in Venice, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection houses an impressive variety of artwork by prominent Italian and American artists. The museum is located right on the Grand Canal inside the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, an 18th-century palace.
Local Tips, Tricks & News
Venice is extremely well known for its vibrant culture, food and fashion. Travelers interested in shopping need look no further than Venice’s many boutiques, and this magical city’s fashion dates back to times when artists and royals alike would dress up in fantastic costumes for the Carnival.
Tourist season runs from April to June, as well as September and October. During these times, the city becomes packed, so plan your trip wisely. Summers can be quite humid and hot and the canals can become smelly and mosquito-ridden, so you may wish to plan your trip during the off-season. The winter and spring time are the best times to go to avoid crowds, as long as you don’t mind a little bit of chill.
While you are in Venice, consider taking a day trip to Lido, a nearby island. This island has been a retreat for poets and famous writers for centuries and is full of colorful history. Lido provides a much-needed break from the crowds of the city with serene beaches, open space, fresh air and relaxing scenery. Best of all, the small island boasts of a 12-kilometer long gay-friendly beach, considered one of the least crowded beaches in the Adriatic sea.
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The Gay Scene in Venice
Venice is an open and very gay-friendly destination and there should be no worries regarding safety. While there are a limited number of gay establishments, per se, in Venice, many bars, restaurants and clubs are gay-friendly.