Michelangelo’s statue of David, one of the world’s most famous works of art, draws many people to Florence. When you stroll these ancient streets, it’s easy to see where he got his inspiration. Italian men are handsome, but there’s something special about the Florentines.
Florentines thoroughly enjoy their regal surroundings and unparalleled food and wine, reveling in the flavor and richness of their culture and cuisine. Locals really do enjoy gelato from street-corner shops, sits for hours in cafes, and dress up for Sunday dinner with family at tucked-away restaurants, best found outside the tourist zones.
Florence — or as the Italians say, Firenze — is a friendly place for first-time visitors. Most people here speak some English and are happy to share their city with its many visitors. There are only a few small gay bars and clubs in Florence. A somewhat conservative social atmosphere, along with high downtown real estate prices and difficult parking contribute to this, but international visitors will feel quite welcome, especially at the hard-cruising clubs and tubs. The largest gay spot, Fabrik Cruise Club, is in Calenzano, 10 miles outside the city.
Florence's compact Aeroporto Amerigo Vespucci is about 6 miles from downtown. Buses whisk you to the center of town. Purchase tickets on board. There are more flights into Pisa's larger Aeroporto Galileo Galilei about 50 miles west of Florence. From there, a train gets you quickly to Florence. The main train route passes through Florence, so it’s easy to reach by rail.
This is a city where you don’t need any other transportation other than your own two feet. Most of the downtown streets are closed to traffic. If you’re traveling farther afield, taxis are plentiful. Street numbers are difficult, too complicated for description here - but most businesses are in the "r" set. Fortunately most streets are short, so following the crowd can be more reliable than reading numbers on walls.
Currency and Money
Italy is part of the Euro Zone, so the euro is the accepted currency. There are plenty of ATMs in the downtown area.
Media & Resources
Arcigay, the national Italian gay/lesbian association, has a local Florentine branch at via di Mezzo 39/r, and website with local news.
Azione Gay e Lesbica (via Pisana 32/r) screens LGBT-themed films, (see Florence Queer Festival) has an archive of 3500 books, magazines from around the world, brochures, comic books, press releases and leaflets. They also publish, and promote lesbian and gay festivals and parties throughout Tuscany, including small towns where glbt visibility is the lowest.
Bears & Breakfast (via San Giovanni Bosco, 14), Stefano and Massimo, two creative-arts bears, welcome with two inexpensive rooms, shared bathroom, good international breakfast. Neighborhood has good restaurants, shops, 10-20 minute walk to town center sights, gay clubs, and Santa Maria Novella Central Railway Station. English, French, German, Italian and Spanish spoken.
Hotel Medici (Via dei Medici 6), near Duomo, luxurious, grand, opulent. All rooms with showers and television; roof terrace with panoramic views of the city.
Martin Dago B & B (Via de' Macci 84), boutique hotel, rich decor, furniture such as cast iron four-poster beds with linen drapes. Ceilings painted with murals, generous continental breakfasts, charming host.
Palazzo Vecchietti (via degli Strozzi 4) is the place to stay if first class pampering is what you crave, with luxury rooms and suites at the center of everything.
Pension Matilde (Via Nazionale, 17) gay-friendly guest house in the historical center of the city in first and third floors of 18th century building. Elevator, all amenities, great views from private balconies. Also known as Gloria Guesthouse
Bars and discos
BK Bar (Via Alfieri 95, Sesto Fiorentino), cocktail bar out by the airport, coffeehouse, karaoke, women-onlly nights.
Club Fairy, Saturdays at Doris Disco (via dei Pandolfini 36r), weekly downtown gay/lesbian dance club/lounge, with restaurant.
Krisco Bar (Via S. Egidio 43r), Tuesday through Saturday, strictly men-only club, dark rooms with secret nooks and crannies, naked and underwear nights; open weekends until 5am with big crowd.
Piccolo Café (Borgo Santa Croce, 23r), cafe/bar, mixed gay/lesbian crowd of all ages and types.
Tabasco Disco (Piazza S. Cecilia 3), first official gay disco in Italy opened in 1974, but has more straight mix these days. Three different rooms, basement disco, spacious, dark room with video area and maze. Dance floor with good sound and lights packs the place all weekend.
Y.A.G Bar (Via de' Macci 8), friendly, mixed men and women bar, open from 10pm. Good place to start your evening for drinks or stay for one of many party nights.
Saunas and cruising
Bar 85 / Hardbar (Via Guelfa 85R) near Florence Baths, notorious open-plan cruising bar encourages group activities and allows everyone to watch or join in. Fisting parties, constant sling action, easy-going vibe, participate as much or as little as you wish. Go naked, wear leather, or street clothes.
Fabrik (via del Lavoro 19, Calenzano), men-only private sex club, american bar, video-cabins, cruising area, large space in former industrial building, outdoor gazebo and garden for smoking. Tuscany Bears events, naked/jockstrap/leather, blackout parties, MegaWoof party. Located 10 miles out A1 highway or the Calenzano station on the rail line to Prato.
Florence Baths (Via Guelfa 93), only gay sauna in Florence, private rooms, hot tub, strong water jets, steam room, sauna, four areas to cruise. Snacks, drinks, smoking room. Outdoors summertime swimming pool and garden, therapeutic massage. Open 2pm to 2am daily.
Cantina Bargagianni (Via S Egido 13), traditional Italian restaurant, fresh pasta, meats, and fish, innovative menu. Wine list of 14 pages, wine tastings, chocolate cake made from 95 per cent cacao.
For locations and website links to the businesses above, plus more restaurants, see our maps & listings section.
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