Rome is a controversial place for gay men. Remember your gay fantasies when you watched those movies with Roman soldiers and gladiators? See the whole world admiring the sculptures of gorgeous men by gay artists in Rome's museums? Capital of Italy, a big, free and democratic country? Don't expect too much from all that regarding the gay scene. Be it for reasons of mentality or because the Pope's power reaches also outside the walls of Vatican City, Rome has by far not the open and colourful gay life as other capitals in Europe.
But the situation started to change in the last years with a new generation of more open and self-confident gay men, as the annual ›Gay Village‹ open-air summer festival, EuroPride Roma 2011 and other events show.
As you can see on our Gay Rome Map, there are no particular gay areas in Rome, but a popular hotspot of the gay and lesbian community in the late evening and at night is the street in front of the two cafe-bars Coming Out and My Bar, Via di San Giovanni in Laterano, which is sometimes called Rome's Gay Street. Especially in warm summer nights, the street can be packed with hundreds of people.
Like everywhere in Italy, a membership card is required for all gay cruise bars and saunas, usually the ONE PASS card or the Arcigay card. In Rome, that card is also required for some of the gay parties. If you don't have an ONE PASS card or Arcigay card yet, you can usually acquire it at the entrance of the venues that require the card. (For foreigners it is 8 € for 1 month. When you acquire the card, you need to show your photo ID; after that you only need the membership card.)