Italian gay history and art

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The ancient Greeks, the ancient Romans—think of Julius Caesar and Nero, etc.—plus all those Renaissance artists—Donatello, Botticelli, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Caravaggio:  did it ever occur to you how much Italian gay history and art there is?  Well, let us tell you:  Italy not only has some of the most beautiful cities, the most great art, one of the world’s top cuisines, some of the cutest guys.  It also has one of the most fascinating, long, and varied *gay* histories, from the ancient Greeks to the Etruscans and Romans to the Italian Renaissance, to modern gay greats like Pasolini, Versace, and Valentino. And there are great monuments and works of art connected with every period of it, which you can easily see on a trip to Italy, if you know where to look.

And that is why we designed our Gay Italy tour: to show you this glorious country, while making sure you don’t miss the gay side of it all.  We show you the gay history hiding in plain sight in the major tourists spots.  For instance, on the great Arch of Constantine, right next to the Colosseum, there are images of Emperor Hadrian out hunting with his boytoy Antinous (see my blog post for the Gay and Lesbian Review: And in the lupanar (bordello) in Pompeii, we point out the gay graffiti (which is what I’m doing in the cover image to this blog post).

Italian gay history and art

Michelangelo’s David

We also explain the gay connections in other places, where you might guess at them but not be able to put them together.  For instance, we point out how sexy Donatello’s David is and tell you about the intense culture of male-male love in Renaissance Florence that formed its context. And what about Michelangelo’s David? We will explain how Michelangelo’s statue proposed a different, new model of the hero—and of the attractive guy.


And we also take you to some lesser known sight connected to gay history.  For instance, when we go to Paestum, to see some of the best preserved ancient *Greek* temples, we stop in the museum to see the Tomb of the Diver, the only remaining example of Ancient Greek wall painting, which contains a scene of male-male courtship, in the Ancient Greek style. Also, while we are on Capri, we take a walk all the way out to the fascinating Villa Lysis—the one place that still speaks to us of the days in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when Capri was Europe’s arty gay beach resort.

Villa Lysis--Italian gay history and art

Oscar Wilde tour group at Villa Lysis

The Villa was built by a wealthy French poet who had been arrested in France for organizing nude tableaux vivants with boys from elite Paris high schools (!).  He retired to Capri, where he built this amazing art nouveau villa, where he lived with his boyfriend—a model for early nude male photos—until he committed suicide in the chicest manner possible, by drinking cocaine dissolved in champagne. And the Villa also has an amazing view, as you can see in this photo of one of our Italy tour groups, posed where in old photos there was a nude statue of the boyfriend.

In short, we will show you Italian gay history and art that you might not even have imagined was there! And of course there will be lots of great art, fabulous cuisine, lovely hotels, and if you’re lucky, cute guys….


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