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Home to countless real-life Romeos, not to mention one or two gents, it’s more bars than Bards in Verona these days, finds Out UK’s romantic roamer Adrian Gillan.
“Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona where we lay our scene…”

So Shakespeare - who’d never left England - puts this Northern Italian gem on the world map whilst creating the ultimate, timeless icon of male youth and sexuality, whose gay legacy is still writ large on the Veronese streets to this very day.

Canaletto's View of Verona and the River Adige from the Ponte Nuovo painted in 1747-48 and now in the Gemäldegalerie in Dresden.
If Romeo had been gay today then our horny homo would have definitely have been based around the old Porto Vescovo archway.

He'd have gone past the Romanian rent boys in the parking bays and onto the eponymous Romeo's Club, tucked away down Via Giolfino, along with neighbouring sauna and sex shop.

Open 11pm until the crack of dawn, Romeo’s is a friendly, good sized club with bar, dance floor, upper viewing balconies if you want some stunning sexy scenes, trendy toilets and a very busy dark room. The crowd is youngest on a Friday, older and be-leathered on Saturdays, pandering to bears every third Saturday of each month, and there are shameless Naked Parties every Sunday.
But if you can’t hang around for Romeo, then join the throbbing throng at CiLiquid Club just opposite, one of the largest gay spas in Italy, on two expansive levels. Upstairs are changing bays, a café and sprawling darkrooms; below are a maze of saunas, steam rooms, whirl pools, showers and lounging areas - mainly older but with more than the odd young muse.
For Youth and those that hunt Him, apart from Romeo’s on a Friday, Lotharios in the know all decamp Saturdays to Skylight at the small nearby town of Santa Bonifacio, a twenty minute drive south west of Verona.

Open from 11pm, it boasts three music rooms - pop, retro and house - a heaving dark room and weekly themed cabaret acts to make you frown and titter. Or chase the lushes to kitsch Art Club at Desenzano del Garda, twenty five miles due west of Verona, on the southern-most tip of the mighty Lake Garda - open Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Or, on a long summer’s day, nothing compares with the horny hoards at Punta San Viglio and the gay nudist stretch just north of Baia delle Sirene on the Eastern shore of the luring lake.

FOOD

There are no gay eateries as such in Verona, but you’ll feel very at home at Al Scalin just over the river from Bukowski, en route to Romeo’s - a fab trattoria run by an eccentric husband and wife duo who would surely make fine fodder for a classic sitcom in their own right: friendly service, generous portions, excellent value and one mean mama who’ll take you close to her chest!

SLEEP

Ditto, there is no gay hotel as such in town, but just round the corner from said eatery is your perfect pad: L’Ospite offers stunning private apartments that couldn’t be better placed, where you’re left to your own devices, are free to come and go, and where self-contained flats go for as little as £35 a night. OutUK also offer a host of gay-friendly hotels which you can book online through Bookings.

GETTING THERE

British Airways has a daily flights to Verona Airport from London Gatwick which cost from £89 return including tax through eBookers.
THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK

Al Scalin (Via San Vitale 6; T: 0039 045 803 6785)
Art Club (Via Mantova 1(a), Desenzano del Garda; T: 0039 030 999 1004 ; Website)
Liquid Club (Via Golfino 12; T: 0039 840 0207)
Romeo's Club (Via Giolfino 12; T: 0039 3384037781; Website)
Skylight (Viale Fontanelle, 28 at S. Bonifacio; T: 0039 045 761 2587; Website)
L’Ospite (Via XX Settembre 3; T: 0039 045 803 6994)

Revised September 2017.

 

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