When you talk about gay travel in Italy, you must begin the conversation with the Puglia region. It’s the top gay summer destination for Italy’s gay community, and furthermore, it’s recognized as one of Europe’s top 5 gay destinations.
So what draws LGBTQ visitors to Puglia, and for that matter, why would anyone want to go to this remote corner of Italy, not often on the tourist map?
In this episode of my Fatal Charm of Italy podcast, I spoke with Scott Maxwell. He’s from the Big Gay Podcast from Puglia, and he talks to me about travel to Puglia in general, and some specific recommendations for gay travel in Puglia, and throughout Italy.
Gay Travel Puglia
During our conversation, we get into planning some travel to Puglia, some of the top Puglia destinations, and some specific locations that are more friendly or gay welcoming.
For many travelers, Puglia is really all about the beaches. And in summer, tourists and residents alike go to the beach all the time (or the Italians say, “We go to the sea. Al mare.”)
Here’s a short excerpt from our chat. For the rest, you’ll have to listen to the podcast.
Transcript to Gay Puglia Travel on The Fatal Charm of Italy
“I think that because we have 800 kilometers of coast and we have such wonderful, wonderful beaches, that is one of the biggest draws for the LGBTQ community here in Puglia, that we have amazing, beautiful, wonderful beaches, and a very wide variety of beaches, from rocky coves, limestone limestone cliffs to long, sandy beaches.
At the very tip of the heel, we’ve got the Maldives of Salento, so called because a lot of people think they are just like the Maldives, with lots of soft white sand and crystal clear blue waters.
But yes, Puglia is a huge LGBTQ destination. And I have to say, I’ve been living here for six years. When I first came to Puglia, I didn’t know that Pulia was such a gay favorite.
My background is that I was a London attorney. I worked for an international law firm as an attorney, but my management role was diversity and inclusion. When I came to Puglia because I decided that I didn’t want to live in the UK anymore, and I didn’t want the stressful workday.
But after about six months, I thought, well, you know what? I’ve really got to be doing something because I’m now doing nothing other than just sitting in the sun and going to the sea and swimming. So I kind of thought, well, maybe with my diversity background, I can do something that helps contribute to the LGBTQ community here in Puglia and in the south of Italy.
Because in Italy, as you might expect, with the Catholic Church being so strong and having such an influence, especially here in the south, having such a patriarchal society, LGBT people don’t have the same protections as many other Western countries do.
So, for example, in Europe, in the European Union, Italy is the only Western European country that does not have equal marriage. Civil Unions, but not legal marriage. No laws that help LGBTQ people in the workplace.
Italy Gay Travel
Thanks again to Scott for taking the time to talk to me about this topic, and another thanks for educating me on the food specialties on my other podcast, Puglia Food on Eat Like an Italian.
If you are either planning a trip to Puglia, or want to know more about the gay-welcoming destinations, check out his website, Gay Puglia Podcast. As the name suggests, there is a podcast to go along with the website. But the website itself is an expansive resource on these two topics.