This gay Italy history tour covers the splendor of ancient Rome as well as both Florence and Naples. The country is a treasure house of artifacts and paintings that are scattered with gay history. Many of the country’s most famous paintings celebrate same-sex love.
You’ll start your trip in Florence where you’ll see the heart of the Renaissance. The period had a huge focus on same-sex love, which inspired many famous artworks, including Donatello and Michelangelo’s two famous Davids, which though different are both extremely homoerotic.
Then you’ll head to Naples where you’ll visit the Archaeology Museum and its notorious Gabinetto Segreto. Then you’ll sample pizza Margherita in the city that invented it. From Naples you’ll visit the ruins of nearby Pompeii; Paestum, with its beautifully preserved Greek temples and homoerotic wall-paintings; and finally Capri, the beautiful island that’s the pearl of the Mediterranean.
These tours are led by esteemed Professor Andrew Lear. He combines his passion for travel with his excellent knowledge of gay history.
Holding both a B.A. from Harvard and a Ph.D. from UCLA, he has also published a widely praised book on male-male love in ancient Greek art, as well as a number of important scholarly articles in this area.
You’ll arrive into Florence and then take a tour with Professor Lear who begins with a brief talk about Italy’s gay history before beginning the walking tour in the centre of Florence.
You’ll discover the city’s crucial role in the Renaissance and the role of homosexual love during the time.
This afternoon you’ll visit the Galleria dell’Accademia to see Michelangelo’s famous and homoerotic David. Then, this evening, you’ll begin a culinary tour by sampling fine Italian wines and fine Tuscan food.
Today, visit two of Florence’s splendid museums, where you’ll discover the whole history of Florentine Renaissance art, from Donatello to Cellini.
Start the morning at the Bargello, home to several key male nude sculptures from the Renaissance, including Donatello’s David – the first freestanding male nude after ancient times.
Then visit the Uffizi, the greatest of all collections of Renaissance painting. Bursting with masterpieces, the Uffizi is also a storehouse of homoerotic art by masters as varied as Botticelli, Caravaggio, and Bazzi (known to contemporaries as ‘Il Sodoma’ – the sodomite).
The afternoon and evening are yours to explore this charming city, its museums, and/or its wonderful fashion boutiques and
artisan shops, as well as its wonderful culinary culture.
This morning, the group will take the express train to Naples, passing through the hills of central Italy. On arrival, have the first of your Neapolitan meals – pizza in the city that invented it!
Spend the afternoon visiting the great Naples Archaeological Museum, where you’ll discover the amazing collection of frescoes and statues that were excavated in Pompeii and other nearby sites. The Museum also has some fabulous homoerotic pieces, including the joint statues of Harmodios and Aristogeiton, the male-male couple who were revered as the founders of the Athenian democracy. Also, there is the
fascinating Gabinetto Segreto, the collection of erotic art that until the 1960s was only open to “people of mature age and respectable morals.”
This evening there’s a group dinner along the city’s famous bay.
Today you’ll drive to Paestum to the south. In ancient times it was part of Greater Greece and is still home to some of the world’s best preserved Greek temples.
You’ll visit temples and the museum and see one of the greatest homoerotic images in ancient art – a wall painting of a symposium where a man courts a youth in typical Greek style.
This afternoon return to Roman culture and visit legendary Pompeii, the city that succumbed to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD and was only rediscovered in the 18th Century.
Pompeii’s sexuality is on show. It’s full of many erotic scenes.
Enjoy traditional mozzarella before relaxing for the evening in Naples.
Head out to the beautiful island of Capri where you’ll spend the day exploring. Home to the rich and famous, you’ll learn about where Emperor Tiberius held his supposed orgies.
Pass the hotel where Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas stayed on their visits. Also visit Villa Lysis, the most spectacular remaining villa of the past and a very gay spot.
Today you’ll head to Rome. Professor Lear will lead walking tours through the heart of the city.
See the famous Forum, the Trevi fountain and the Piazza di Spagna (the Spanish Steps) with its famous staircase.
You’ll learn about Hadrian – the gay emperor; Caravaggio, the artistic rebel and genius and also Michelangelo’s biggest crush.
Visit the Vatican across the Tiber. Here you’ll discover the irony of the Vatican’s extensive homoerotic art – despite the institution’s long-running history of homophobia.
This afternoon you’ll delve into the heart of the ancient city – the Forum, the Palatine Hill and the Colosseum.
Today you’ll head into the countryside to Tivoli to explore two famous villas – Emperor Hadrian’s country retreat where he built a temple to his lover Antinous, as well as Villa d’Este with its splendid Renaissance gardens and fountains.
In the afternoon you’ll visit Rome’s Palazzo Massimo to see famous Greco-Roman art as well as the sleeping hermaphrodite.
Your last day in Rome will see you visit the Capitoline museum with its magnificent collection of antiquities – such as Caravaggio’s strangely erotic St John the Baptist and the famous she-wolf of Rome.
This evening gather for a final tasty Italian dinner to say farewell to the friends you’ve made in the group.
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