This article is about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) history in Italy.


Etruscan fresco - Males having sex.

600 BC-1 BC

Main article: Homosexuality in ancient Rome

1st century BC

Romans, like Greeks, tolerated love and sex among men. Two Roman Emperors publicly married men, some had gay lovers themselves, and homosexual prostitution was taxed. However, like the Greeks, passivity and effeminacy were not tolerated, and an adult male freeborn Roman could lose his citizen status if caught performing fellatio or being penetrated.[6]

1st century CE

Bus of Elagabalus - Palazzo Nuovo - Musei Capitolini - Rome 2016. The 3rd century Roman emperor Elegabalus is viewed by some historians as an early transgender figure.

2nd century

3rd century

4th century

Justinian 1's Justinian Code, which influenced the persecuted status of homosexuals in Europe from 529AD until the Napoleonic Era, was satirized in 1911 by the artist A Radokov.

5th century

6th century


13th century

14th century

Dante and Virgil interview male homosexuals, from Guido da Pisa's commentary on the Commedia, c. 1345

15th century

16th century

Il Sodoma self portrait, circa 1502

17th century

18th century

19th century

The French Emperor Napoleon, under whose rule homosexuality was legal in much of Italy

20th century

Lesbian writer Lina Poletti

21st century



5274 Lesbian Mom at a 'talking book' LGBT event in Pavia in 2010, where people told their stories to combat homophobia. L'amore spiazza, Pavia 16 May 2010 - Foto Giovanni Dall'Orto
2010-07-02 Arcigay float at Gay Pride Rome, 2010


See also


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  5. ^ Martial attests to same-sex marriages between men during the early Roman Empire, although these had no legal status; see Martial, Epigrams 1.24, 12.42
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  17. ^ (Theodosian Code 9.7.6): All persons who have the shameful custom of condemning a man's body, acting the part of a woman's to the sufferance of alien sex (for they appear not to be different from women), shall expiate a crime of this kind in avenging flames in the sight of the people.
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