Tour Information

Catania is one of the most famous Sicilian cities for its LGBTQ+ community and nightlife. Our tour will let you discover all the natural and historical beautiful places that has made the story of the gay scene in Catania.

Catania was the Italian city where Fascism acted a strong prohibition against homosexuality.

In 1939, 42 gays where combed, taken aways from their homes and exiled. A witness of those times tells that the worst humiliation was that they were compelled to undergo a detailed investigation on their genitals and on their anus….The reason was  that the military police wanted to accuse only the passive pederasts ‘because of their use of the anus’. Fascism was not scared of homosexuality in itself, as lan expression of love between same-sex people. It was scared of the gender-role switch, between active and passive, which obviously meant a switch between male and female. This was not acceptable in a dictatorship, based upon male power and strength. Moreover, Fascist gendarmerie knew that also some nobles and some landlords used to practice pederasty, but they could not be accused, as Fascism social order was based on strict connections with them.  No interest in disrupting the powerful feudal system existing in Sicily .

The fascist military police was keeping the male ballroom of St Anthony Square under control, as a place where homosexuals met their lovers or clients…. yes, clients, because Sicily was an extremely divided country at that time, between rich landlords and very poor farmers, artisans, etc ….youngsters tried to live it up selling their bodies. Many young men attended the place, after having left their fiancèes at home!

Nevertheless, during the roundup at the ballroom in 1939 , the military police did not investigate who the clients were (rich landowners, professionals, etc) and only attacked those they defined the ‘illegals’.

It seems that this morbid attention to the Sicilian gay community (not exactly a community, yet, just a number of poor, hungry, illiterate young men, beaten by an ever-ending famine) started with a homicide, which happened in a house in 1937. A young man was found dead and investigations involved a number of male friends nicknamed female ‘A Leonessa’ (the She-Lion), A’ Placidina, etc 

Even though Catania was full with the ‘Black Shirts’, homosexuals carried on walking along the ‘Via Etnea‘ using their language of signs and looks, in order to detect their possible clients or lovers. They knew where to meet, in narrow streets and alleys, away from the people’s sight, but in no house, in no retreat….There they loved each other.

Enjoy a promenade with our gay guide, listen to the secrets of the young men and women who were persecuted during the II World War for being gay or lesbian. First stop, the Duomo (the Cathedral) and the Elephant Fountain in the historical center of Catania (a UNESCO World Heritage Site).  Then, up to the ‘Ursino Castle’, which oversees the town and has been the meeting point for the ‘arrusi’ (passive) and the ‘masculi’ (active) for generations.

Crossing the neighborhoods of the historic center, all the gay people until 1939 used to meet in one of the first Italian ballroom for only men: an element that distinguishes Catania from other Italian cities.  The ballroom scene was devastated during the 1939 fascist roundup of gay men who were deported and assassinated. During those harrowing years, the Benedictine Monastery walls served as meeting points for battuage ad cruising, as did Piazza Roma and Villa Bellini.

You will travel to the infamous  ‘red light district’: The San Berillo District, where prostitution was the only way to fight against harassment and the only possible income for many gay men.

The tour then proceeds up the flight of steps in Via Alessi, an obscure meeting point for gay couples and for cruising, to the ‘arvuru russu’ (the ‘red tree’, in Sicilian dialect).  This old tree was the symbol of the largest gay community in Italy during the 30s.  Here, many gay men were killed and 45 deported by the Fascist Army.  A long, deep fracture in the tree trunk still bears witnesses to that tragedy.

In these years all the gay life of the city has been reborn in all its glory: associations – the local committee of the largest Italian LGBT association, Arcigay, is in the city; gay and friendly pubs, discos, parties and clubs liven up the nightlife and every LGBT person here is free to express themself, in the city that celebrates that we were born this way.

Departure:
Duomo (the Cathedral)

Places You’ll See

Catania Cathedral
Ursino Castle
Elephant Fountain

Itinerary

Tab Item Content

What's Included

Escorted Tour
Professional gay-friendly guide

What's Excluded

Everything not clearly mentioned on what's Included
Hotel pick-up & drop-off
Personal extras
Tips

Additional Information

End of the tour at the port.

The Voice of Our Clients

Ian
Ian
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My husband and I booked the tour of the “Vatican in a gay light” for one morning during our trip to Rome. Our guide, Dario, was very knowledgeable of the historical significe of the art works as well as many of the anecdotes that provided context. We learned a great deal and truly enjoyed ourselves. This tour is too notch! Thank you.
Matt Berg
Matt Berg
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Excellent pre-cruise Quiiky tour in Venice. Great guide who had so much intimate knowledge of Venice. Besides being very handsome he is a local resident for more than 2 decades with so much intimate knowledge that you can’t get from a guidebook. This is my second time using Quiiky for tours and transfers; they’re my first choice in Italy!
Dan & Vince
Dan & Vince
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First I would like to thank you and your company and all involved for a wonderful trip. From beginning to end we continued to be amazed by all the wonder service we received from all of you. We had a fabulous time for our anniversary. All the guides were great and all better than we expected. It is hard to pick a best as they were all awesome, that being said, three stand out for being most personable and had a excellent sense of how to move us along our tours. Quiiky gets 5 out of 5 for all other ratings. Yes, we would positively reccommend for anyone considering travel to Italy. AND, Giovanna, you’re the best.
 John Bindlechner-Wigan
John Bindlechner-Wigan
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We adored our Quikky tour of the Vatican with our guide Claudio. We had been a little apprehensive about visiting the Vatican but this tour is the way to go! Claudio had an expert knowledge of the art collection and we enjoyed hearing the "other", more scandalous stories of the private lives of Michelangelo and the popes. We loved our visit to the museums, Sistine Chapel, grotto and St Peters - I recommend joining the queue and adding on the view from the dome of the basilica - well worth the stairs!
Denis Dallaire
Denis Dallaire
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The excursion to Capri was great! The headphone system worked really well and the guide Andrea was super nice and fun! He was a really good guide and would not hesitate to have him again. The food and drink offerings were very good. Thank you for a wonderful experience!
Oliver Broad
Oliver Broad
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Thanks for a great alternative tour of the Vatican. Having visited back in 1999 I wanted something a little different to do with my husband who had never visited before. It is great to see Quiiky offering tours with a twist and can most definitely recommend this one for your next visit to Rome.
Greg Brady
Greg Brady
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First had a wonderful pre-cruise Quikky tour in Venice. Our guide was super friendly, knowledgeable, and a great deal of fun. Then I went on a tour of the Vatican and our tour guide was incredible. He is an expert on the Vatican and on the pertinent gay history (which turns out to be much more than you might even think). He literally made the Vatican come alive and provided one of the more fascinating tours I have taken anywhere. And the two wonderful owners of Quiiky picked us up and took us on a vehicular tour of Rome. Others got back from Rome complaining of the crowds and the heat... we got back energized, happy, and filled with fascinating information after an afternoon filled with fun and personalized care. Don't make the mistake thinking you will get an equivalent tour from a straight guide/company -- if you are gay, Quiiky is the way to go.
Auston Matta
Auston Matta
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I highly recommend Quiiky Travel for any guided visit to Rome or Italy. I was both surprised and entertained by everything GAY I learned about the Vatican on my tour. They are passionate about providing an excellent travel experience and I have no doubt that you would enjoy one of their tours or travel products.
Denis Dallaire
Denis Dallaire
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What a wonderful experience to Messina and Taormina. Antonio was a great guide with good knowledge and history-telling. Really enjoyed the history of the museum Cusena. Again the food and drinks on the boat were very good. Thank you so much!
Santiago Stanley
Santiago Stanley
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Our excursion to Messina and Taormina today was excellent. Antonio was amazing. Our food experience was on point … starting with the granita and Brioche in Messina and the arancini and cannoli in Taormina!!! The boat trip around the bays was spectacular and the food again!!! Eggplant Parmesan and the sardine dish and olives… Again Antonio was patient , knowledgeable sweet and always on time!! Excellent experience!!!
Adam Martindale
Adam Martindale
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We had a fantastic tour of the Vatican with Paolo from Quiiky. Paolo was knowledgeable, personable, fun and really gave us a different insight into the history of art and the gay artists that are part of the Vatican’s history and more! Highly recommended!
Theron Clark Stuart
Theron Clark StuartGroup Traveller
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It was easy to schedule our tour. Everything was explained in great detail, so there was no confusion on the day of the excursion. The vans were spotless and comfortable. Our guide for the Colosseum was exceptional in every way. He was cute, knowledgeable, witty, flexible and engaging. We met so wonderful folks and shared a wonderful lunch with the guys from our group. Could not have been happier with Quiiky.
Curtis Korchinsky
Curtis KorchinskyGroup Traveller
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Fantastic company to work with. Very easy and simple…..and good value. Will definitely book with them again!
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Catania Untold History Tour

From € 169

Duration: 3 hours
Destination: Sicily
Inspiration: History

Untold History Tours

100% LGBTQ+ FRIENDLY

Gay owned company.

CULTURAL TOURS

Constant research about the hidden Gay Italian history.

LGBTQ+ FRIENDLY GUIDES

Only guides openly gay or gay-friendly.

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Continue your trip to Italy whit our Untold History Tours and discover the untold history of iconic Italian destinations.

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