Explosive Italian action in Naples as OutUK’s Adrian Gillan takes it up Pompeii!

Neapolitan youths - young Romeos all - innocently couple and entwine upon mopeds, storming around town as if no tomorrow.

Meanwhile old Mount Vesuvius, as always in ancient times, sits poised ominously across the calmest of bays under a lush reddening moon.

Ah, here's Naples, birthplace of pizza and piazzas, Caruso and arias - enchant me with your earthy passion and your sultry ways.

The Bay of Naples and Vesuvius from the Hotel Paradiso.

You can’t help but get carried away by the raw, naïve ardour and drop-of-a-hat street-side drama of the unselfconsciously stylish Southern Italian males, lean and olive through open-air basking in Suns of home. Touch down and check ‘em out at the Caffè Letterario Intra Moenia sprawling out into Piazza Bellini, especially Saturdays.The Caffè offers one of the best experiences in Naples. It's not only a popular gay hangout, it's pizza is to die for.Open both day and night, you can experience the beauty of the busy city life during the day from the outdoor terrace and the twilight hours as the city starts to rest and sleep. The rustic decor makes this venue stand out from other pizza bars, with rustic vines on the outside and exposed wooden beams on the inside.

Many of the gay venues of Naples can be found in the grand claustrophobic Centro Storico - the Historical Centre. It's a maze of palaces, piazzas, churches & notable backstreets. Annual celebrations of Pride in this area of the city make for some lovely and memorable pictures.
Pride parade in the city of Naples - Photo: PFMphotostock
'O Barett is a bar in the heart of the historic center of Naples that's gay friendly and very popular with gay men. Its Italian cicchetti, pastries, cocktails & coffee are prepared in a laid-back bar & cafe. Coffee shop by day with a Happy hour and Lounge bars. Above all it's the Cicchetti, which is also spelled "cichetti" or called "cicheti" in Venetian language, which you just have to try. They are small snacks or side dishes, typically served in traditional "bàcari" just like they do in Venice.

Buck Curt Bar is a Gay friendly place. on the Via Francesco Saverio Gargiulo. It's high-energy and edgy and aimed at those who love to dance and party. The music is loud and the atmosphere is lively, with a mix of locals and visitors. It serves some creative cocktails in between the tunes.

Bar Fiorillo is another gay-friendly venue in the Piazza Bellini hub. It's a small bar with a dining experience that is perfect for those who want a small venue that isn’t crowded with hundreds of people. There's a lovely outside terrace. Archeobar is an archaeology-themed neighborhood cocktail bar offering classic & creative drinks including craft beer and cocktails in an intimate atmosphere.

If you have some cash to spend, the Romeo Hotel overlooks the Gulf of Naples and has views of Mount Vesuvius. It's also only about 10 minutes from the famous Teatro di San Carlo opera house. As one of the most expensive hotels in Naples it features upmarket rooms and suites with marble bathrooms. In one suite they have an outdoor hot tub! Whether you are staying there or not, the hotel’s rooftop has one of the most stunning cocktail bars in the city and attracts a well-off gay clientele.

Palazzo Petrucci Ristorante is a fine-dining restaurant with views of the Gulf of Naples, offering seafood tasting menus. This Michelin-starred restaurant is also home to one of the city’s most elegant and sophisticated cocktail bars. The interior is sleek and modern, with a marble bar and velvet seating, and the cocktails are as stylish as the surroundings.

The terrace of the Eurostars Hotel Excelsior is another chic and elegant spot for a sunset cocktail. The panoramic views of the Bay of Naples are unbeatable, and the atmosphere is perfect for a special occasion or a romantic evening out with your boyfriend or husband.

The city’s main gay nightlife areas are Chiaia and Montesanto, which are known for their lively and welcoming atmosphere. Things usually start getting busy around 11 pm, and most places stay open until about 2am.

Cactus is Naples' main gay disco cruise bar with its nviting atmosphere and dim lighting. It has a stylish decor and a great selection of cocktails. This bar is known for its live music, frequent drag shows and some theme nights. They have a darkroom, cruising labirinth area and some cabins where you can relax or play with new found friends.

Bronzetto con scena erotica sodomitica
Secret Cabinet in the Museo Archeologico
Sailko:CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Alternatively, Depot Napoli was the first Fetish Cruising Bar to open in Naples. They hold some themed evenings including a Naked Party, Masked, Underwear & Fetish.

If you are after a steamy night then many locals swear by the Blue Angel Sauna on Corso Meridionale - Naples’ oldest steam house, additionally offering Finnish saunas and Turkish baths. This gay-friendly sauna is an excellent alternative for those feeling lost at a lack of gay saunas in Naples. It's in a discrete part of town and is open from 1 pm – 8 pm, so you can relax early evening before heading out to enjoy other nightlife.

There are a number of adult entertainment shops in Naples - the two best being Sexy Shop Estasywith its wide range of toys for numerous needs and people. From cock rings and lube to vibrators and butt plugs they have it all. The other is Sexy Shop Play Time which has a similar fare but aimed slightly more towards the straight market.

So what of the time-honoured tradition of Italian cruising? They may have now fenced off the main bit of the Villa Comunale, a long stretch of parkland on the edge of the Bay, but safe nocturnal activity still occurs on its Viale Dohrn avenue, both by car and on foot in the nearby bushes. There’s also a fair bit of after-dark drive-by action in the Centro Direzionale district east of centre around the Holiday Inn.

Fancy a bit of culture? Then head out east of town to the amazing Ancient Roman sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum – preserved in time courtesy of Vesuvius in AD79, and complete with brothels and wall murals depicting numerous naughty roman sexual acts.

Pride parade in the city of Naples
Photo: PFMphotostock
You can also visit the famous Gabinetto Segreto at the Museo Nazionale Archeologico (Piazza Museo 19 – note: shut Tuesdays) back in town - an adult-only collection of ancient porn, much of it from the two aforementioned sites including lots of gay sex and phallic things, plus a very expressive statue of Pan buggering a goat.

Get away from it all one day with a trip to the queer island haven of Capri, an hour by ferry from the Molo Beverello pier.

Once home to the Emperor Tiberius and his many private orgies with young local lads and those specially shipped in to his now ruinous villa, it has been a gay mecca ever since. Oscar Wilde’s Bosie fled here after that infamous trial of 1895 in which Wilde was convicted of gross indecency.
The Hotel Weber Ambassador on Capri.
And check out the gay beach: take a short walk from the main town centre to the far side of the island, along the drastically winding Via Krupp - named after a German resident who built it and then killed himself following a gay scandal he couldn’t handle - until it straightens out at the bottom. Then dart down a track to the left to a place where, like the Sirens of old, naked men lure like-minded others onto the rocks.

Back in town Le Fontane al Mare is a cheap but stunningly positioned hotel over-looking the Bay, just a brisk walk from the gay scene, notleast the Comunale cruising ground.

There are low-budget flights from the UK daily, and – since most tourists head straight for Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast – it’s completely unspoilt, and very cheap. But best avoid August when many venues, like much of Italy, simply shut down. Our hotel partners Bookings offer a wide range of gay-friendly hotels at special online prices.


Archeobar - Negroneria Napoletana (Via Mezzocannone, 101/Bis; T: +39 320 457 2987; facebook)
Bar Fiorillo (Via Santa Maria di Costantinopoli 88; T: +39 081 459905; facebook)
Blue Angel Sauna (Corso Meridionale 1-3; T: 0039 081 562 5298; Website)
Buck Curt Bar (Via Francesco Saverio Gargiulo 25; T: +39 338 929 1248)
Cactus (Via Leopoldo Rodinò 8; T: +39 320 199 4834; Website)
Caffè Letterario Intra Moenia (Piazza Bellini 67/70; T: 0039 081 290 720; 10am-3am daily; Website)
Depot Napoli (Via della Veterinaria 72; T: +39 081 780 9578; Website)
Eurostars Hotel Excelsior (Via Partenope, Via Francesco Caracciolo 48; T: +39 081 764 0111; Website)
Le Fontane al Mare (Via N Tommaseo 14; T: 0039 081 764 3811)
'O Barett (Via Benedetto Croce 15; T: +39 081 551 7015; Website)
Palazzo Petrucci Ristorante (Via Posillipo 16 C; T: +39 081 575 7538; Website)
Romeo Hotel (Via Cristoforo Colombo 45; T: +39 081 017 5001; Website)
Sexy Shop Estasy (Via Beniamino Guidetti 102; T: +39 081 767 0017; Website)
Sexy Shop Play Time (Calata S. Marco 4; T: +39 081 551 6353; Website)

Revised June 2023.


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