Italy and The Hot Spots They Crave
For the second year in a row, the mayor of Viareggio, in the Tuscan region of Italy, has extended an invitation for gay and lesbian travelers to visit the towns of Viareggio and Torre del Lago — the area where the famous musician Giacoma Puccini was born. And the mayor has also promised that you’ll find plenty to do once you arrive in this sun-soaked section of Italy. “Versilia” is the area in Tuscany where Viareggio is located and is the name given to the circuit of entertainment opportunities and events for gay and lesbian tourists in this area. Being gay or lesbian in a place like Italy certainly isn’t frowned upon. It is embraced, as it is in the ever evolving culture of many European cities. This perhaps can teach Americans a thing or two about how human co-existence can evolve for the good.
Versilia is the local gay switchboard, supported by the gay-owned and gay-friendly businesses and hotel association board and officially recognized by the Viareggio Municipality. No longer is it only heterosexuals strutting their stuff up and down the streets, so do the gays and lesbians. The way it should be! The Versilia scene was created around the Lecciona, a very exquisite and infamous beach of fine sand situated between Viareggio and Torre del Lago. It is surrounded by a wonderful National Park with a forest of pine trees and is always crowded with gay men and women. On weekdays as well as weekends you can find scores of friendly gay men and lesbians suntanning, swimming, and enjoying themselves.
Very close to this beautiful beach, all along the seafront road, you will find the heart of friendly Versilia in its bars, restaurants, pizzerias, disco clubs, and villa shops. Two very crowded gay and lesbian pubs, Bocachica and Mama Mia, are also fine restaurants. Bocachica serves delicious seafood, wine, and curry, and also contains a music bar with many different styles of music including American. Mama Mia’s offers typically Italian pizza, and its sister club, Momousa, another popular restaurant in town, serves up fine seafood and shellfish as well as coffee and sandwiches for those who don’t like seafood. Frau Marleen, one of the historical gay disco clubs in Italy, is along the beach. It’s mostly gay and lesbian on Friday nights, transgender on Saturdays, and mixed on Sundays. Not far from the beach you’ll find a festive club called Barrumba, a very popular disco with a nice crowd and a huge dark room. Many gay-owned or gay-friendly shops are found in the center of Torre del Lago and Viareggio as well. You’ll want to try Antichita Luigi Tomasso for antiques and gifts. Babele Libreria Cartoleria has gay literature, and Tentazioni is a great gay gift shop but open only in August.
Gay life is getting hot and popular in Tuscany: openly gay and lesbian pubs, restaurants, and shops; open and proud gay men and lesbians; rainbow flags; and lots of travelers coming from all over Italy and other countries. That’s a far cry from the Italy most travelers think of – the Vatican, the Fall of Rome artifacts, the Pope, and girls in black dresses. Some even say the area is on the way to becoming the fad of Italy.