A mesmerising mixing pot where classical culture and tradition meets world-class creative innovation, Milan is Italy’s second most populous city and the country’s economic powerhouse. Milan represents a lifestyle of effortless chic, long lunches and trendy nightlife.
One of the world’s four fashion capitals, the city’s relationship to creativity and design goes back centuries, and is evident in Milan’s diverse architectural styles and influences, from 17th Century Baroque to the Art Nouveau style that burst into the city in the 20th century. Home to a number of globally recognised historical and cultural institutions, the city is a treasure trove for inquisitive visitors.
Often known as Italy’s gayest city, Milan leads the way in a widely conservative country as a bastion of expression, openness and inclusion. The innovative and cosmopolitan reputation associated with the city has drawn LGBT+ individuals from around Italy for decades and there is now an established and exciting gay scene in the city. The scene includes a number of gay bars, clubs and cafes that tend to be centred around the Porta Venezia district.
Fanning out from the original gates that were part of the Roman wall that surrounded Milan, the Porta Venezia district has developed an identity as one of the most diverse and exciting districts in the city. With a large immigrant population, the area has been an accepting and welcoming home to people from across the globe since the late 20th century when individuals from Africa, Asia and South America first arrived.
Today Porta Venezia is not only known as being a hub of multiculturalism in the city, but also the epicentre of gay culture and community. The area is home to Milan’s vibrant and trendy gay scene, which can mainly be found along its central avenue of Via Lecce. Porta Venezia is known throughout the city as a cool and edgy district, with plenty of underground bars, provocative local residents and a history of non-traditional lifestyles. Read More: Things To Do in Milan.
The centre of gay nightlife in Milan is Porta Venezia and its main street of Via Lecce is a bustling and lively avenue where diners and drinkers spill out of venues onto the busy sidewalk. The area is always alive with a thriving and exciting atmosphere. Most of the city’s gay clubs and bars will be found along Via Lecce, meaning it is easy to hop between venues for the ultimate gay nightlife experience.
One of the city’s most popular gay bars, Leccomilano is a staple on the Milan gay scene and a common hangout for attractive and young guys to meet up, drink and chat late into the evening. As the night goes on, Leccomilano becomes louder and more exciting as the venue morphs into a lively dance club. Drawing a mixed international crowd, the bar is the perfect place to meet local gay guys during your visit.
Take a step back in time at Mono Bar, a quirky retro-themed venue that is a popular destination for pre-dinner drinks and boasts a welcoming and laid-back atmosphere. Located on Via Lecco, the bar is a great place to enjoy a few drinks at before heading on to the scene’s bigger venues. Mono is small and intimate, and the nightly DJ sets draw a diverse LGBT+ crowd.
When Club Plastic first opened its doors in the 1980s it was comparable to the likes of Studio 54 and other iconic clubs of that era. With its buzzing neon sings, eclectic and trendy crowds as well as world-class sound systems, the club oozes cool. Featuring a large techno dancefloor, lounge areas and multiple bars, Club Plastic is a maze of hedonism and bohemian clubbing culture in the heart of Italy’s trendiest city.
The main attraction of Hotel Berna, is its convenient location next to Porto Venezia’s main train station and the city’s gay district. Hotel Berna offers guests a taste of Swiss comfort and elegance in the heart of fashionable Milan. The service at the hotel is renowned for its efficiency, professionalism and friendliness and guests can enjoy the stylish rooms with flat-screen TVs, in-room WiFi and alcoholic minibar. If you’re looking for accommodation close to Milan’s gay scene and great transport links to the rest of the city, then look no further than Hotel Berna.
Gay travellers seeking a classic and traditional stay in Milan should consider the Hotel Manzoni, a charming boutique hotel situated in the heart of the city’s Old Town. Many of the top tourist attractions are located close by, including the Duomo and Milan’s top shopping districts. Each room is elegantly designed with style and aesthetics in mind, featuring hardwood floors and opulent furnishings. The Hotel Marzoni also has its own gym, spa and massage services as well as an in-house restaurant.
Offering 5-star accommodation in the heart of Milan’s city centre, the TownHouse Duomo provides unrivalled views across Milan’s historic centre and the famous cathedral. The rooms at the hotel are impeccably designed to combine traditional features and influences with cutting edge, contemporary elegance. The hotel’s friendly and attentive staff make it an extremely popular destination for gay travellers.
The Milano Pride occurs at the end of every June to celebrate the city’s LGBT+ population and allies. Taking place as a week-long festival of LGBT+ centred art, culture, history and celebration the pride events include numerous seminars on the advancement of LGBT+ equality and rights at the House of Rights.
The iconic Porta Venezia becomes a hub of pride during the festival each year, whereby the main square is taken over by food vendors, stalls and stages. The celebrations climax on the final day with a large-scale pride parade that starts in Porta Venezia and snakes its way through the city.
The main parade attracts upwards of 200,000 spectators, making it one of Italy’s largest demonstrations of LGBT+ pride, whilst Porta Venezia’s Pride Square can see the attendance of 30,000 people or more.
Gay rights in Milan
The presence and the strong influence of the Catholic Church in Italy have meant that socially conservative attitudes towards homosexuality are still prevalent, however, in recent years the government has taken a number of steps to improve the rights and quality of life for LGBT+ people in the country.
Same-sex marriage was fully legalised in 2017 after several supreme court hearings and LGBT+ Italians have enjoyed discrimination protections on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender indeed since 2003.
Transgender people in Italy have been able to legally change their gender since the 1980s and improvements continue to be made that aim to make the process of gender confirmation increasingly simple.
by George Pizani | On: Gay Milan