The gay community of Rome, represented by the organisation Arcigay, has put forward a request for a gay area near of the Colosseum.
The aim is to have a specific space set aside along the lines of Marais in Paris and Cheuca in Madrid where the homosexual and lesbian communityies can meet, organise cultural exchanges and promote the gay arts.
Rome is lagging behind other major European capitals in that it has no area set aside for the gay community, says Fabrizio Marrazzo, president of Arcigay. He points out that Paris, London, Manchester, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, Lisbon, Brussels, Stockholm, Cologne, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Montreal, Sidney and Cape Town all have areas set aside specifically for the gay community.
Arcigay has made a request to set up a temporary gay street in a section of Via S. Giovanni in Laterano, a traditional meeting point for the GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual) community. The proposal is for a pedestrians-only area which would initially open only at the week-ends.
However Via S. Giovanni leads from the Colosseum to the basilica of S. Giovanni in Laterano the oldest basilica in Rome which is the centre of the diocese of Rome and the official ecclesiastical seat of the pope, as bishop of Rome. There are also several famous churches along the street or leading off it.
Arcigay has proposed 9 September as the inauguration day for the project, to coincide with the start of the Notte Bianca:
Romes Arcigay organisation boasts 30 000 members, a national call centre and four regional support centres. Rome, Bologna and Florence register the largest gay communities in Italy.