Gay Lesbian Travellers

Although homosexuality is legal in Sicily it is not particularly well tolerated - though some say that attitudes are improving. There are a few gay and/or lesbian clubs and bars, mostly in Taormina and Catania (apparently the new gay capital). Palermo is lagging behind, though you'll find a couple of bars and clubs here too.

Overt displays of affection by homosexual couples can attract a negative response. Yet physical contact between men (and women), such as linking arms and kissing on the cheek, is commonplace and very much part of Sicilian life. It is best to bear this strange dichotomy in mind when travelling through- — out the island. m

Gay-friendly bars and clubs can be tracked -i down through national gay organisations % or the national monthly magazine Pride, published by Circolo Mario Mieli in Rome (available at gay and lesbian organisations and bookshops). The international gay guide, Spartacus International Gay Guide, has listings of gay venues all over Italy. The website (in Italian) lists gay bars and hotels, or get hold of a copy of Guida Gay Italia ( .asp, in Italian). It is sometimes available at newsstands in Palermo and Catania.

If you want to track down the small (but growing) gay scene in Palermo, contact ARCI-GAY & ARCI-Lesbica (@ 051 644 70 54;; Piazza dl Porta Saragozza 2, 20123 Bologna), an Italian association based in Bologna.

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