The “Italian Vice”: male homosexuality and British tourism in southern Italy

Beccalossi, Chiara (2015) The “Italian Vice”: male homosexuality and British tourism in southern Italy. In: Italian sexualities uncovered, 1789-1914. Genders and sexualities in history . Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 187-211. ISBN 9781137396976

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Item Status:Live Archive


In the nineteenth century Southern Italy attracted British men who loved individuals of the same sex; in their eyes the Mediterranean promised a more ‘natural’ sexuality, one untrammelled by Northern European civilisation. Little different from people inhabiting the East, Italians were, it was supposed, sensual, exotic, closer to nature, spontaneous, and able to act upon their homoerotic desires. This contribution explores the British stereotypes that associated the south of Italy with male same-sex desires, how Italian commentators internalised these biases, and the phenomenon of British homosexual sex tourism. This work also explores southern Italian local traditions such as the 'femminiello' or institutionalised transient homoerotic experiences during adolescence, which were meshed with the phenomenon of homosexual tourism.

Keywords:Homosexuality, Sex Tourism, Modern Italian History, Modern British History
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V145 Modern History 1900-1919
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V144 Modern History 1800-1899
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V223 Italian History
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (History)
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ID Code:19044
Deposited On:16 Oct 2015 08:09

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