A European Gay-Cation: Rome Celebrates 30 Years Of Pride

A European Gay-Cation: Rome Celebrates 30 Years Of Pride
Image: Image: Michael James

Rome is a city rich in history and culture, a place that one expects to experience some of the greatest historical sites in the world, however it is not necessarily where you would expect to see one of the biggest pride events in the world.

A recent trip to Italy revealed one of the largest and most joyous pride events I’ve yet to witness and it almost happened completely by accident.

When booking our accommodation in Rome the location of our hotel caught my attention due to it’s proximity to the colosseum, little did I realise at the time that the historical landmark would serve as the back drop for their biggest queer event of the year.

Rome Pride Celebrates 30 years

For any first timer in Rome the experience is overwhelming to say the least.

The streets are lined with beautiful buildings, rich in architecture, no matter the time of day the city is alive and bustling with an endless stream of activity.

As a gay couple travelling on our own there is always a slight apprehension to our travels.

That slightly niggling in the back of your mind about public perceptions of the queer community in other countries and the underlying thoughts about our personal safety.

However these were quickly allayed as we rounded the corner from the Colosseum to approach our hotel room.

“There” our taxi driver pointed to the street of our hotel, adorned with rainbow balloons and decorations, clearly they must have been expecting us.

Rome Pride
Image: Michael James

As we exited the car two bedazzled drag queens smiled and waved as they strutted past. The windows of the local shops were littered with pride displays, we had landed in Rome, in the gayest street imaginable for the gayest event of the year.

Via di S. Giovanni in Laterano is home to several of Rome’s LGBTQIA+ friendly venues and was base camp for the weekends celebrations for the 2024 Rome Pride event. It also happened to be right below our hotel room.

Titled “Walk with Pride: The world is your runway” the event was celebrating 30 years of Rome’s pride march and they were ready to celebrate in style.

Rome Pride
Image: Michael James

Thousands line the streets to celebrate

As the afternoon sun set behind the Colosseum crowds started to gather in anticipation of the parade. Slowly as the numbers grew the streets began to close as they spilled across the streets.

What was most captivating was the sheer diversity of the crowd. People from all walks of life gathered, adorned in rainbows and smiles. Mothers and fathers walked hand in hands with their children, teenagers gathered in groups buzzing with anticipation.

The air was truly alive with the energy of something special.

By the time the march itself arrived at the corner of the Colosseum it had become almost possible to move, every inch of space was taken up by the swelling crowd.

Rome Pride
Image: Michael James

So began a parade that was so large it seemed and endless stream of people that showed no signs of stopping.

Groups rounded the corner waving flags and banners, interspersed with floats and buses from community groups across Rome.

Rome Pride
Image: Michael James

Early in the parade a large bus boasting a slew of drag queens rounded the corner as a singer belted out a song in Italian that drove the crowd wild. The performer was a famous Italian singer known simply as Annalisa. She was joined on the float by Italian politician and secretary of the Democratic Party, Elly Schlein.

The river of people continued to snake through the streets in a march that took nearly three hours to clear, it appeared to never end. Organisers estimated over 70,000 people marched in the parade itself, with thousands more spectators adding to the incredible numbers.

Rome Pride
Image: Michael James

Via di S. Giovanni in Laterano was hosting the official street party following the parade and many ended their journey here, joining in on one of the largest street parties we had ever witnessed.

The street which hosts local gay bars Coming Out and My Bar was transformed for the street party that lasted well into the night. With a temporary stage erected outside local drag legend Mister Androcur led the festivities with a slew of local drag talent and DJ’s who commanded the party for hours on end.



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Despite the parade passing by, the streets remained closed with the sheer volume of people partying outside. Whilst events like Mardi Gras see people disappear into the nightclubs, Rome Pride became a party in the streets, celebrating culture and inclusivity in the shadows of the cities history.

Rome Pride
Image: Michael James

As 1am rolled around the music finally came to a close and the crowd dispersed. Collecting a flyer from the ground we discovered the official after party and event scheduled from 11:30pm until a staggering 11am. Although we’re sure many enjoyed partying into the morning, these gays were ready for bed.

The following days the city basked in the hangover of the event as council struggled to clean the mess left behind, rainbow balloons dangled at half mast in the breeze as the city bustled along in the wake of the event.

But the beauty was truly contained in the people that we passed in our travels in the coming days.

Travellers and locals alike passed through the local gays bars for food, drinks and good company as we met and befriend people from around the world. Locals in Rome greeted us like family as we traversed the city taking in the views and city sites.

Six days felt like a heartbeat, six months would have been more sufficient to see all we needed.

Whilst we still have plenty more of Europe to see, Rome and Rome Pride truly captured our hearts and is a must for any traveller planning their next European gay-cation.


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