Since 1861, Italy has had liberal legislation regarding homosexuality, but that doesn't mean it has been looked on favorably in a Catholic country. Homosexuality is much more accepted in the north than in the south, especially in Sicily, although Taormina has long been a gay mecca. However, all major towns and cities have an active gay life, especially Florence, Rome, and Milan, which considers itself the "gay capital" of Italy and is the headquarters of ARCI Gay (www.arcigay.it), the country's leading gay organization. Capri is the gay resort of Italy, rivaled only by the gay beaches of Venice.
The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA; tel. 800/448-8550 or 954/776-2626; www.iglta.org) is the trade association for the gay and lesbian travel industry, and offers an online gay- and lesbian-friendly travel directory.
Many agencies offer tours and travel itineraries specifically for gay and lesbian travelers. Above and Beyond Tours (tel. 800/397-2681; www.abovebeyondtours.com) are gay Australia tour specialists. San Francisco-based Now, Voyager (tel. 800/255-6951; www.nowvoyager.com) offers worldwide trips and cruises, and Olivia Cruises & Resorts (tel. 800/631-6277; www.olivia.com) offers lesbian cruises and resort vacations.
Gay.com Travel (tel. 415/834-6500; www.gay.com or www.outandabout.com) is an excellent online successor to the popular Out & About print magazine. British travelers should click on the "Travel" link at www.uk.gay.com for advice and gay-friendly trip ideas.
The website Gaytravel (www.gaytravel.com) offers trip-planning information and ideas; gay-friendly tours, cruises, destinations, and hotel listings; and general advice for gay travel all over the world.
Also look for Spartacus International Gay Guide, 36th Edition (Bruno Gmünder Verlag; www.spartacusworld.com/gayguide) and Odysseus: The International Gay Travel Planner, 17th Edition (www.odyusa.com); and the Damron guides (www.damron.com), with separate, annual gay and lesbian books.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.