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A girl demonstrates during Pride
Photo © Melinda Hall via CanvaPro
Photo © Melinda Hall via CanvaPro

4 places to discover the LGBTQ+ movement in Tuscany

Events and places that are part of the Italian LGBTQ+ movement's history

The history of the Italian LGBTQ+ movement has shown Tuscany to be a place in which to grow, develop and fight for people's rights.

All this was made possible thanks to the work of activists, associations and groups who began to emerge and protest starting from the seventies and in the wake of the turmoil caused by the Stonewall riots.

In this article, we will give you some tips for visiting places that form part of the history of the Italian LGBTQ+ movement.

  • 1.
    Pisa79: in the footsteps of the first Pride
  • 2.
    Torre del Lago: from activism to nightlife
  • 3.
    Pistoia: The first LGBTQ + monument in Tuscany
  • 4.
    Florence: achievements and visibility

Pisa79: in the footsteps of the first Pride

Piazza dei Cavalieri in Pisa
Piazza dei Cavalieri in Pisa - Credit: Crisfotolux via CanvaPro

Let's start from Pisa, where we can learn about several key events and places of the movement. It's the city where the first march opposing violence against homosexuals was organized in 1979. It went down in history as Pisa79.

The demonstration was organized on November 24, 1979 by the Orfeo Homosexual Collective which was based in Vicolo del Tinti 30 as a reaction to the murder of a gay man in Livorno. The Orfeo club had been opened a few months earlier, in the spring of 1979, following the wave of gay collectives that were formed all over Italy, from Rome to Turin, with the aim of "allowing freedom of expression and affirming the right to live one's sexuality in the light of the sun".

The event started from the beautiful Piazza dei Cavalieri and is considered the first Italian Pride event as it's the first LGBT event in Italy authorized by the police headquarters and sponsored by the Municipality of Pisa.

An estimated 200 to 300 participants were joined by both the curious and allies such as feminist collectives. The procession crossed the historic center of Pisa and ended with a circle made by all the participants around the Leaning Tower. An interesting fact is that in the sixties and seventies, the area where the tower stands was one of the favorite meeting places for young people, as well as the Scotto Garden and Piazza Guerrazzi.

In 2019, forty years after that first Pride, Pisa hosted Toscana Pride during which over twenty thousand people demonstrated around the city.

Torre del Lago: from activism to nightlife

One of the gay friendly clubs in Torre del Lago Puccini
One of the gay friendly clubs in Torre del Lago Puccini - Credit: Photo by Gayly Planet

Torre del Lago, a hamlet in Viareggio, has been one of the most popular destinations for the LGBTQ+ community since the 1970s, a fact which can also be credited to the work of the Friendly Versilia consortium. Over the years, the consortium has brought together traders and associations with the aim of promoting the territory and proposing it as a friendly destination in Tuscany.

Torre del Lago also marks the start of the itinerary to discover Versilia LGBTQ+ that we recommend you follow to discover some more curiosities about this area. The perfect end to a day is certainly an aperitivo in one of the many bars on Viale Europa, which fills up with people from all over Italy in the summer.

Pistoia: The first LGBTQ + monument in Tuscany

Center of Pistoia
Center of Pistoia - Credit: Gmaiga

Pistoia is an enchanting city and we recommend that you visit this city of art in the Apennines but also stop to visit a very important monument. Here, you can find the first monument in Tuscany in memory of the homosexual victims of the Nazi extermination. The monument is located in the parterre of Piazza San Francesco and was inaugurated in 2015 with the collaboration of the Arcigay Pistoia La Fenice association, one of the most active associations in the region.

Florence: achievements and visibility

Florence with a beautiful rainbow
Florence with a beautiful rainbow - Credit: Ntslsk via Canva Pro

We conclude with Florence: the perfect place to discover the history of the LGBTQ+ community. Here, you can visit the Uffizi Gallery to learn about works of art and myths related to the community or follow our itinerary to discover the rainbow Florence of the past.

There are also many other places here, in addition to the headquarters of the associations, which in the more recent past have played a key role in the rights and visibility of the LGBTQ+ community.

For example, in the 1960s, Cascine park was very popular with transgender people and soon became the subject of police raids. One of the victims of those raids was Romina Cecconi who, not without difficulty, became the first Italian transgender woman to changed her gender on the official register. With her story, she contributed to paving the way for Law 164 which allows for the adjustment of gender on documents .

Today, another very important place for the city is the Ireos Association which organizes the Florence Queer Festival every year. Since 2003, the FQF has been one of the most important LGBTQ+ themed international cinema events in Italy. As well as featuring exhibitions and events, it's one of the best opportunities to get to know the Tuscan and international community.

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