Friday, January 15, 2021

Venice: a rich and interesting history of sexual tolerance

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Who doesn’t love Venice? Its canals, its romantic aura, its luxurious noble palaces, and its important historical heritage… It is not by chance that the Venetian Republic was commonly referred as “La Serenissima”, for its unique and unparalleled tranquility.

Venice was the most important and powerful republic in the Mediterranean, and it was a melting pot of merchants, sailors entrepreneurs and peasants from all over the world. This vibrant entanglement of foreign cultures and different social statuses created a rich environment for the arts, commerce, and the pursuit of all human indulgences!

By the nineteenth century, a journey to Venice became a must for all upper-class Northern Europeans who included Venice into their “Gran Tour”. The Republic was known as a libertine place, very tolerant towards what we nowadays call “sexual tourism. The negative undertones of this term were also in place in Venice, with some travelers abusing young boys and girls for sexual pleasure. Nevertheless, the sexually tolerant and open atmosphere contributed greatly to Venice being a prime stop on every Gran Tour of Europe.

Two twentieth century novels also highlighted Venice as an epicenter of LGBTQ love: “Death in Venice” by novelist Thomas Mann and “The Desire and Pursuit of the Whole” by novelist Frederick Wolfe.

Want to discover more about Venice and its fascinating LGBTQ+ history? Visit our Untold History tours for gentlemenand ladies!


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