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Home to countless real-life Romeos, not to mention one or two gents, it’s more bars than Bards in Verona these days, finds Out UK’s romantic roamer Adrian Gillan.
“Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona where we lay our scene…”

So Shakespeare - who’d never left England - puts this Northern Italian gem on the world map whilst creating the ultimate, timeless icon of male youth and sexuality, whose gay legacy is still writ large on the Veronese streets to this very day.

Canaletto's View of Verona and the River Adige from the Ponte Nuovo painted in 1747-48 and now in the Gemäldegalerie in Dresden.
Lucla Cafe is a popular gay bar in Verona with lovely drinks with snacks and a great atmosphere. Lucla is a must visit for any gay traveler who wants to connect with community in Verona. The cafe is about 20 minutes away from a nightclub that's become a real focal point of gay nightlife in Verona.

If Romeo had been gay today then our horny homo would have definitely have been based around the old Porto Vescovo archway.

He'd have gone past the Romanian rent boys in the parking bays and onto the eponymous Romeo's Club, tucked away down Via Giolfino, along with neighbouring sauna and sex shop.

Open 11pm until the crack of dawn, Romeo’s is a friendly, good sized club with bar, dance floor, upper viewing balconies if you want some stunning sexy scenes, trendy toilets and a very busy dark room. The crowd is youngest on a Friday, older and be-leathered on Saturdays, pandering to bears every third Saturday of each month, and there are shameless Naked Parties every Sunday. Check before you head there though, as it's only open on certain nights, some of the year.
But if you can’t hang around for Romeo, then join the throbbing throng at Liquid Club just opposite, one of the largest gay spas in Italy, on two expansive levels. Upstairs are changing bays, a café and sprawling darkrooms; below are a maze of saunas, steam rooms, whirl pools, showers and lounging areas - mainly older but with more than the odd young muse.

Splash Club is a private club for those holders of a valid ARCO membership card. To register you just need to be over 18 and have a valid ID document with you. The card costs € 17, is valid for one calendar year and you can access all the clubs affiliated with ARCO - obviously the entrance fee itself is not included. Once inside you'll find a Turkish Bath, Spa Wellness centre, Finnish Sauna, Hydromassage, Pool, Gym and Cinema Room as well as a Summer Garden and Gay Sex Shop.

For Youth and those that hunt Him, apart from Romeo’s on a Friday, Lotharios in the know all decamp Saturdays to Skylight at the small nearby town of Santa Bonifacio, a twenty minute drive south west of Verona.

Open from 11pm, it boasts three music rooms - pop, retro and house - a heaving dark room and weekly themed cabaret acts to make you frown and titter. Or chase the lushes to kitsch Art Club at Desenzano del Garda, twenty five miles due west of Verona, on the southern-most tip of the mighty Lake Garda - open Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

There's also the DarkHouse Cruising Bar Verona which is a small gay club with a bar area, cruising area and dressing rooms.

On a long summer’s day, nothing compares with the horny hoards at Punta San Viglio and the gay nudist stretch just north of Baia delle Sirene on the Eastern shore of the luring lake.

GAY ASSOCIATIONS

Pianeta Milk - Arcigay Verona is an LGBT+ Center of activities and services for and for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and more communities of the city. It offers a space for politics, culture, aggregation and services for the Veronese LGBT+ community, through its activists and volunteers and various thematic groups and is located in Via Scuderlando, 137 in the popular and populated Borgo Roma district, in the southern area of Verona.

Circolo Pink is home to Pink Rufugees a gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans and straight association in Verona that was set up for the assistance and reception of gay migrants. The aim of the group is to create a space for discussion on issues related to being gay, lesbian and trans in countries where homosexuality is often a crime punishable by prison and in some cases the death penalty.

FOOD

There are no gay eateries as such in Verona, but you’ll feel very at home at Scalin Osteria in Veronetta just over the river from Bukowski, en route to Romeo’s - a fab trattoria run by an eccentric husband and wife duo who would surely make fine fodder for a classic sitcom in their own right: friendly service, generous portions, excellent value and one mean mama who’ll take you close to her chest!

SLEEP

Ditto, there is no gay hotel as such in town, but just round the corner from said eatery is your perfect pad: L’Ospite offers stunning private apartments that couldn’t be better placed, where you’re left to your own devices, are free to come and go, and where self-contained flats are very reasonably priced. OutUK also offer a host of gay-friendly hotels which you can book online through Bookings.

GETTING THERE

British Airways has a daily flights to Verona Airport from London Gatwick which cost from £89 return including tax through eBookers.
THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK
Art Club (Via Mantova 1(a), Desenzano del Garda; T: 0039 030 999 1004 ; Website)
Circolo Pink (Via Cantarane, 63; T: +39 348 263 4126; Website and facebook)
DarkHouse Cruising Bar Verona (Viale del Lavoro, 39A/int 16; T: +39 045 878 0778; Website)
Liquid Club (Via Golfino 12; T: 0039 840 0207)
L’Ospite (Via XX Settembre 3; T: 0039 045 803 6994)
Lucla Cafe (Via Marcantonio Bentegodi, 4/A; T: +39 345 229 0250; facebook)
Pianeta Milk - Arcigay Verona (Via Scuderlando, 137; T: +39 045 973003; facebook)
Romeo's Club (Via Giolfino 12; T: 0039 3384037781; facebook)
Scalin Osteria in Veronetta (Via San Vitale 6; T: 0039 045 237 6356; Website)
Skylight (Viale Fontanelle, 28 at S. Bonifacio; T: 0039 045 761 2587; Website)
Splash Club (Via Faustinella, 1; T: +39 030 914 2299; Website)

Revised April 2022.

 

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