Gay Italy History Tour

HE Travel: Don’t miss out on this amazing adventure! Pack your bags, grab your friends, and join HE Travel to experience Gay Italy History Tour.

Rome, Florence, Naples, Capri…the very sound of these amazing Italian cities stir the soul.  Join us as we reveal the gay side of this amazing country.  We will discover the secret lives of Rome’s gay emperors, follow in the footsteps of Michelangelo and Caravaggio, and sample all the delights (culinary and otherwise) that gay Italy has to offer. We will learn about Italy’s flamboyant side with world renowned Professor Andrew Lear and local guides who specialize in gay culture as we relax in a series of exquisite hotels and feast on superb cuisine, accompanied by fine Italian wines of course!


  • Marvel at the Eternal City through the eyes of Gay Emperors
  • Discover the artistic treasures of Florence and the fabulous men who created them
  • Savor Italian specialties from gelato to grappa!
  • Discover the unbridled passion of Italian gay men through the ages
  • Enjoy the “La Dolce Vita” relaxing on the Isle of Capri like the Ancient Romans did
  • Combine this trip with Greece to meet all the Gay Gods & Heroes!

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Day 1: The Eternally Gay City

zach moses poses infront of statues in rome italy

Ciao Roma!  We will take some time to relax after our international flights and check in to our comfortable hotel centrally located in Rome.  Don’t fall asleep, because Professor Lear is ready to start our tour with a brief talk about Italy’s gay history, before leading us on a walk through the center of this fascinating city.  Marvel at monuments such as the Pantheon, the Piazza Navona, and the church where the opening scene of Tosca takes place—all within a short stroll from our hotel. Enjoy a relaxed, pleasant stroll with a little bit of learning—from Hadrian, the “gayest” emperor, to Caravaggio, the artistic rebel and genius- and then it’s on to our welcome dinner, where we start to get to know the culinary magic that is the cuisine of this great city.


Day 2: Back in Time…

inside view of the roman colosseum in rome italy

In the morning, we meet our local guides and delve into the core of the ancient city—the Forum, the Palatine Hill that housed the imperial residences, and the Colosseum, famous for its gladiatorial combats. As we journey back in time, we also learn about Romans’ sexual mores—including their important same-sex side—and examine the lurid tales of the emperors’ sex lives. We’ll have lunch at a traditional Roma restaurant, and then cross the river and visit the Vatican. Here we will reveal (and revel in!) the irony of one of the world’s greatest collections of homoerotic art being housed by an institution that has a long history of homophobia. Enjoy an evening at leisure.


Day 3: It’s good to be the Emperor!

Our day begins with a drive into the countryside to Tivoli, where we visit two great villas: Emperor Hadrian’s country retreat (where, among other things, he built a temple to his lover Antinous, who was worshiped as a god after his suicide), and the Villa d’Este, with its splendid Renaissance gardens and fountains. We’ll dine in a country restaurant famous for its local produce and wine, and return to Rome to visit Palazzo Massimo, the center of the city’s antiquity collections. Here we will see such masterpieces of Greco-Roman art as the Discobolus (a model of masculine form for the Greeks) and the sleeping hermaphrodite—a statue that reveals much about the Romans’ sexual attractions.


Day 4: Art and Culture…and Gelato!

museum statue heads sit quietly in a row in a museum in rome italy

On our last morning in Rome, we visit the Capitoline museum, with its magnificent collection—from the famous she-wolf of Rome to Caravaggio’s strangely erotic St. John the Baptist. We are then off to explore a recently discovered ancient senatorial palace, where a sound-and-light show explains the fascinating and complex history of this site for Ancient Romans. Take some free time this afternoon and evening, you’ve earned it! Shopping, wandering, or more museums and churches may interest you, and we’re happy to provide suggestions for dinner tonight on your own.


Day 5:  Pizza al fresco

breathe taking capri outcrops in sapphire blue water

We take the express train to Naples, one of the most complex and lively of all Italian cities. Did you know that the Neapolitans invented pizza?  Well, we will sample a delicious Pizza Marguerita and learn how it all began.  This afternoon at the Naples Archaeological Museum, we see the amazing collection of frescoes and statues that were excavated in Pompeii and other nearby sites. The Museum is also home to some fabulous homoerotic pieces, and a collection of erotic art that until the 1960s was only open to “people of mature age and respectable morals.” We will travel to the coast and spend the evening in Sorrento in our hotel overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean.


Day 6:  Pompeii’s Secret and it’s all Greek to me…

a group poses infront of ruins in pompeii

We spend the morning in Pompeii, the world’s greatest archaeological site. Sexuality will be our special theme as Pompeii is rich in the history of the erotic. There are many surprises in store, especially in the main bordello and the locker-room of the Suburban Baths! The specialties of Southern Italy are on the menu for lunch today, including the best fresh mozzarella in the world, as we dine at an amazing restaurant that has been feeding visitors to Pompeii since 1825!  We drive south to Paestum this afternoon and switch cultures, from ancient Roman to ancient Greek, and the museum here is home to an amazing collection of homoerotic art not to be missed. Tonight we’re back to Sorrento for a free evening.


Day 7: The Gay Isle of Capri

a traditional meal of prawns in florence italy

Capri, the pearl of the Mediterranean waits for us today after a fun hydrofoil ride. Famous for its beauty and for the rich and famous who have played there, this island has long been a mecca for the gay rich and famous. After a boat ride around the island, we go up to the village of Capri, where we learn about the Emperor Tiberius and the orgies he supposedly held on the island as well as Capri’s gay culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Those who are up for a walk can also visit the Villa Lysis, the most spectacular remaining villa of the period and, frankly, one of the world’s gayest spots. Lunch is on the water’s edge with fresh seafood on the menu. On return to Sorrento, an optional cooking lesson is available (must be booked in advance).


Day 8: Renaissance begins…

a statue of david against a cobbled backdrop in florence italy

We begin our day with an express train ride from Naples to Florence. Upon arrival we have a splendid lunch waiting—with Tuscany’s famous steak and red wines. In the afternoon, we take a walking tour of the center of Florence, learning about the city’s key role in the Renaissance and the role of homosexual love in the Renaissance. Our afternoon ends with a visit to the Galleria dell’Accademia, where we see Michelangelo’s ‘slaves’ and the international symbol of male beauty, his David.


Day 9: Masterpiece after Masterpiece

statues lounging on the medici chapel in florence italy

Today, we visit two of Florence’s splendid museums, where we will discover the whole history of Florentine Renaissance art as well as the dense gay history of Renaissance Florence! We start the morning at the Bargello, and then we then plunge into the Uffizi. Bursting with masterpieces, the Uffizi is also storehouse of homoerotic art. The afternoon is yours to explore this charming city, maybe shopping at some of their fashionable boutiques or artisan workshops suits your pleasure. Tonight we celebrate with new found friends the magic that is gay Italy at our Farewell Dinner!


Day 10: Ciao for now!

one of michelangelos statue in florence italy

Our tour ends this morning in Florence, but we are happy to arrange your return trip to Rome (please let us know about your return to the US, especially if you are leaving today) or your transfer to the HE Travel Puglia Villa Culinary Experience.

click Send Inquiry below for current availability and today’s best pricing.


click Send Inquiry below for current availability and today’s best pricing.


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