The most inclusive city in Italy, known as the city of fashion and design, boasts a wonderful blend of art, culture, history and tradition. It offers a combination that fully meets the needs of today’s LGBTQ+ traveler.
Gay Milan in the Days of Leonardo da Vinci
Starting with the extraordinary legacy of Leonardo da Vinci, who lived for more than twenty years in the Lombardi capital, you can retrace some foundational stages of life and history in Gay Milan.
Leonardo da Vinci, the undisputed genius of the Renaissance, was a scientist, painter, architect, engineer, choreographer and inventor with an eccentric personality, thanks to his superior mind. He made Italy the “land of knowledge and art”. Born in Anchiano (near Vinci) in 1452, he lived in Florence until 1482, when he moved to Milan to put himself at the service of Ludovico Sforza, known as il Moro, who gave him protection and work.
During his stay in gay Milan, Leonardo was persecuted and condemned because of his homosexuality. Nonetheless, he had several relationships and fell in love with one of his pupils, Gian Giacomo Caprotti, nicknamed “Salaì” by himself.
Salaì – whose name derives from Salaino (“devil”) – was a good-looking young man towards whom Leonardo felt a very strong attraction. He was a rebel, a cheat, a thief able to accept the extravagant, turbulent and surly personality of the artist. For this reason, probably, despite being aware of the troubled nature of his lover, Leonardo took him with him for almost all of his life. Indeed, it is thought that the figure of Salaì influenced some of Leonardo’s works: the “San Giovanni Battista“, for which he posed as a model, and the “Gioconda” (more widely known as the “Mona Lisa“), for which he served as an inspiring muse.
From 1509, Leonardo da Vinci became particularly attached to another of his students, Francesco Melzi, with whom he lived the last two years of his life (1517-1519). To him, he bequeathed all his movable property, his papers, and his drawings.
One of the major testimonies of the amazing work of the Renaissance genius in the Milanese city is the Castello Sforzesco. In particular, the creative and inimitable vein of Leonardo da Vinci is reflected in the “Sala delle Asse“, as well as the most famous room of the Castle. The latter also includes the “Museo della Pietà Rondanini” where it is possible to admire one of the greatest masterpieces by Michelangelo, another great homosexual artist.
Gay Milan: The Legacy of the Renaissance Today
To better understand the genius and homosexuality of Leonardo da Vinci, Gay Milan also offers the “Science Museum“, the “Leonardo da Vinci 3D” exhibition and the “Pinacoteca Ambrosiana” where the portrait of Salaì and the “Code Atlantico”, which is the largest collection of the artist’s writings and drawings. Again, the “Museo del Cenacolo Vinciano” where it is possible to admire the most important mural in the world: “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci. Finally, it is possible to visit the “Vigna di Leonardo“, a vineyard donated to him by Ludovico Sforza in 1498 where, even today, it is possible to relive the most intimate secrets of the artist’s life.
Gay Milan: Today’s Entertainment, Nightlife, and Pride
Gay Milan is full of not only culture, but also entertainment. In the gay district of Porta Venezia it is possible to relax or go wild in one of the many LGBTQ+ friendly clubs in the area. From the aperitif until late at night, the whole community gathers to sip a cocktail, have dinner or simply mix and mingle in good company. Among the most famous places in the rainbow district are certainly “Leccomilano – Un buco di bar”, “POP” and “Mono Bar”.
In the Porta Venezia district every year, usually in the month of June, Gay Pride is held, an event that has now become highly anticipated throughout Italy. So much so that in 2019 a record number of over 300,000 people took part.
The bohemian district of Brera is also a favorite among Gay Milan tourists from all over the world. Located in the heart of the city, it was once a place of perdition for the LGBTQ+ and non-LGBT community, full of brothels. Today it is an elegant place, full of artists and students and a national and international reference point for design. Here are the famous Academy of Fine Arts, the Pinacoteca di Brera and the Braidense National Library. Brera is also very close to the “Teatro alla scala“, a place witness to numerous secret meetings between the 18th and 19th centuries.