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Tuscany is best known as a destination for villa holidays in the Italian countryside. What's less known, reports OutUK's Mike Gray, is that a part of the Tuscan coast of Versilia is also a prime resort for Italian gay men, with the local government now actively promoting it as an international alternative to Mykonos and Sitges.
On the gay beach at La Lecciona.
The Versilia Riviera boasts an unbroken stretch of beach covering over 20 Km with a beautiful climate that gets more than 270 days of sunshine a year. Bordering an extensive area of stunning national park it's close to Pisa, of Leaning Tower fame, which was the first Italian city to officially recognise and register same-sex partnerships.
Easyjet and Ryanair fly to Pisa from London so costs of getting there if you book at the right time can be quite low.

You could combine a beach holiday on the Versilia Riviera with a stay in Florence or Siena which are within driving distance.


The River Arno at Pisa.

FRIENDLY VERSILIA

A host of local bars, restaurants and guesthouses have signed up to the council's gay promotional campaign called Friendly Versilia.
The gay scene is concentrated in the towns of Torre del Lago and neighbouring Viareggio with a free public gay beach in the National Park which surrounds the towns. Called La Lecciona there are enough dunes and pine trees to hide a multitude of sins. Remember that most other beaches on the Italian coast are private and you have to pay to use them.
Gay visitors are positively welcomed.

NIGHTLIFE

Your first port-of-call should be the open air bar Mamamia in Torre del Lago. Constructed to look like a beach shack, it does in fact boast two open-air bars and indoor terrace bar. If you want to eat on the terrace at weekends, reservations are recommended. Gay-owned and always crowded at night, you can pick up flyers and info about gay events and clubbing in the area. Bochachica is a Gay bar and restaurant which serves seafood, wine, and curry and also contains a music bar with many different styles of dance music.

WHERE TO STAY

If you want gay accommodation then you have the choice of a number of gay bed-and-breakfasts or you can even camp(!) a condom's throw from the gay beach. The Libano is a gay B&B in a beautiful position on Lake Massaciuccoli. Perfect for opera queens as every year an open-air theatre is built on the lake for an annual Puccini festival. Other gay B&Bs are the opera themed Bohème in the Via Giacomo Puccini and Le Villi. There are three campsites within 1km of the gay beach who welcome gay tourists. They are Camping Europa, Camping Italia and Camping Paradiso.

OutUK in partnership with Booking.com enable you to book hotel rooms in Florence, Pisa and other major Italian cities at discount rates and with many exclusive special offers. You can browse each hotel and instantly check availability and book online. More details

THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK
Bocachica (Viale Europa 1, Torre del Lago; T: 00.39.58.435.0976)
Bohème (Via Giacomo Puccini 209h, Torre del Lago; T: 00.33.58.435.1142 Website)
Camping Europa (Viale Dei Tigli, Torre del Lago; T: 00.33.58.435.9566)
Camping Italia (Viale Dei Tigli, Torre del Lago; T: 00.33.58.435.9828)
Camping Paradiso (Viale Dei Tigli, Torre del Lago; T: 00.33.58.439.2005)
Friendly Versilia Website
Le Villi (Viale Puccini 178, Torre del Lago; T: 00.33.58.434.0355) Website
Libano (Via Tabarro 23, Torre del Lago; T: 00.39.58.434.0631) Website
Mamamia (Viale Europa 5, Torre del Lago; T: 00.39.58.435.1111)

Revised April 2016.

 

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