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, but 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 for men only, 10 miles outside the city, in Calenzano.
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 as the main train route makes this an easy connection.
This is a city where you don’t need any other transportation other than your own two feet, and most of the downtown streets are closed to traffic. If you’re traveling farther afield, taxis are plentiful. The street numbering system can be difficult, too complicated for description here - but most businesses are in the 'R' set. Fortunately the majority of streets are short in the old city, 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
Azione Gay e Lesbica (via Pisana 32/r), a Florentine association of volunteers, has worked for LGTB rights and quality of life since 1989, collaborating with Arcigay at the national level. They sponsor LGBT-themed film screenings and theater (see Florence Queer Festival), FLOG and Necessariamente parties, pool parties, Pride events, photo and art exhibitions, workshops and seminars, promote political activism, and provide legal advice and HIV/AIDS education and services. With a library and archives of over 3500 books, LGBT magazines from around the world, brochures, comic books, press releases and leaflets, they also publish many of their own. Azione also sponsors lesbian and gay festivals and parties beyond Florence, throughout the smaller towns of Tuscany. Members also enjoy pizza, conversation and hanging out at local cafes. Pink Riot / Arcigay Pisa, with offices at Via Fermi 7, is the closest affiliate of the national organization.
For a look at Il Duomo, the museums of Florence, the Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens, Ponte Vecchio and the Santa Croce Church, see our Activities pages.
Cinema la Compagnia has a program of festival screenings, featuring the best works of international film makers of today along with classics of the past. Films are presented in their original version language, with Italian subtitles.
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.
BluNotte B&B Firenze (Via Dei Martiri del Popolo, 27), five rooms, historic district location, moderate prices, young and informal atmosphere, WiFi, museum bookings.
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 (Corso dei Tintori, 6), 4-room boutique hotel in quiet area near the river and Basilica of St Croce, rich decor, generous continental breakfasts, moderate rates, 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.
Residenza le Fonticine (Via Nazionale, 17), guest house in the historical center of the city in first and third floors of an 18th century building, a short walk from the Santa Maria Novella train station. Elevator, all amenities, great views from private balconies.
Bars and discos
BK Bar (Via Arsiero Salvanti 6, Calenzano), cocktail bar north of the airport, coffeehouse, karaoke.
Fairy Gold at Full Up Club (Via della Vigna Vecchia 23r), high energy downtown Saturday dance night; gay/lesbian/straight young men/women mix, go-go dancers, drag divas; theme parties and summer beach parties.
Necessariamente at Auditorium FLOG (Via Michele Mercati, 24), monthly LGBT dance parties throughout the winter months, September through April, sponsored by the Azione community activist group. Men/women, shows and special guest performers.
Mamamia in Florence at Viper Theatre (Via Pistoiese at Lombardia), monthly LGBT dance party during the winter months as the Torre del Lago beach resort team bring their summertime beach party to Florence. Also New Year's Eve and other parties in Pisa.
Piccolo Café (Borgo Santa Croce, 23r), cafe/bar, mixed gay/lesbian crowd of all ages and types.
Tabasco Disco (Piazza S. Cecilia 3r), 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 for busy weekends.
CLOSED: Y.A.G Bar (Via de' Macci 8), friendly, mixed men and women party bar, young crowd, snacks.
Saunas and cruising
Crisco Club (Via S Egidio 43r), Tuesday-Saturday night men's cruise club; drag queens, strippers/go-go dancers, sex shows, resident and guest DJs. Incorporated Bar 85 / Hardbar the notorious men-only cruising bar with group activities, fisting parties, and sling action. Go naked, wear leather, underwear/jock 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.
Soul Kitchen (Via De Benci 34r), gay-friendly Wi-Fi cafe/bar lunch, gourmet burgers, afternoon tea/coffee and desserts, evening aperitifs and buffet meals, live music, DJ sets, and Bossy Thursday club nights.
For more restaurants, see our maps & listings section.