Agreement made during US visit of Rome mayor
The mayors of Rome and San Francisco have signed an agreement that will see both cities twinned for Gay Pride, held every June.
The deal was signed by Rome mayor Ignazio Marino and his San Francisco counterpart Edwin Lee during a meeting to discuss opportunities for collaboration in the areas of waste management, culture and tourism.
Marino was in California to seek US sponsorship for Rome's monuments as well as studying environmental policies.
"Too many times in recent years, Rome has been the scene of homophobic attacks and other serious incidents of discrimination – said the mayor – instead Rome must continue to become the capital of acceptance and equality, where nobody can ever feel offended or marginalised."
Although San Francisco is recognised as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world, Rome has earned the reputation of a "homophobic city" in recent years.
However since Marino came to office in 2013 one of his priorities has been to make the capital a more gay-friendly place, installing rainbow-coloured Christmas lights on Via del Corso and opening this year's Gay Pride, becoming the first Rome mayor to do so since the parade began 20 years ago.