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Italy as a whole, and northern Italy in particular, is gay-friendly. Homosexuality is legal, and the age of consent is 16. Luckily, Italians are already more affectionate and physical than Americans in their general friendships, and even straight men occasionally walk down the street with their arms around each other -- however, kissing anywhere other than on the cheeks at greetings and goodbyes will certainly draw attention. As you might expect, smaller towns tend to be less permissive and accepting than cities. Milan has the largest and most visible homosexual population, and during fashion week especially, gay travelers will feel particularly at home.

Italy's national association and support network for gays and lesbians is ARCI-Gay/ARCI-Lesbica. The national website is www.arcigay.it, and every city has a local office. In Venice, it is found at San Polo 2003 (tel. 340-593-8934); in Trieste, Via Pondares 8 (tel. 040-630-606); in Verona, Via Gela 9 (tel. 045-810-6253); in Milan, Via Bezzecca 3 (tel. 02-54-12-22-25; www.arcigaymilano.org); in Genoa, Corso Torino 46/1 (tel. 010-565971; http://nuke.arcigaygenova.it); and in Turin, Via Fratelli Faa di Bruno 2 (tel. 011-19-70-31-45; www.arcigaytorino.it).

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.