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
The River Arno at Pisa.
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.
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.
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.