Thanks to progressive Pope Francis, things are changing at the Vatican, as well as in Rome and throughout Italy. The new openness prompted 30-year-old travel professional Alessio Virgili to launch "The Untold History," a guided tour that looks at the LGBT history of classic art contained at the Vatican Museums.
Virgili's tours, which began in November, cover male lovers of artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci, some of which were captured in legendary works like the "The Last Supper." While the Vatican clearly doesn't sign off on these tours, Virgili told The New York Times that, "We are in a free country and what we tell has foundations."
Virgili also noted that the current Pope, which has taken a much more liberal view of homosexuality than his predecessor, has helped attract more LGBT visitors to Italy. The nation still has far to go; there are no legal protections for same-sex couples in the EU nation.
Regardless, there is still much to offer for gay tourists in Rome, Virgili says. Visitors should experience the "gay street" in front of the Colosseum — Via San Giovanni in Laterano — the Cow Killer nightclub aka Muccassassina. In warmer months, the weekends welcome thousands of revelers to an event known as the Gay Village.
Click here for more information on Virgili's tours.