Italy by Mandy Romero

photos of Mandy Romero by Olan

Mandy and Caralyn


photos of Mandy Romero by Olan

Mandy in Milan

"Dragging Down Italy"

When I came back from the toilet to find religious music playing and the boy in the angel’s costume dripping candle wax into Gloria’s mouth while the other trannies entwined onstage I knew that I was in an authentic Roman orgy. As I often do on such occasions, I asked myself, "What am I doing here?" and the answer was "Dragging Down Italy". Not that I’d want to drag the place down – I had some amazing experiences there. Only in Italy!

It all started when I got an E-Mail from my friend Sherry Vine, in Berlin. She was recalling a trip she’d made to Italy and she said, "In a wig, you can have any man you want!!" Well, that was tempting enough, and where better to continue my global tranny adventures which had been so unforgettable during my "Round The World Trip" (published in the 10th Tranny Guide), than in Italy, home of the sex-goddess and lovers of all kinds? I thought I’d do the trip from Milan to Naples but in the end getting as far as Rome was quite enough. So, come Easter, off I went, on a cheap on-line flight to Milan hoping, amongst other things, to bring back a few travel tips for Tranny Guide readers.

Milan is a cool hard city and at Easter not quite warm enough for halter tops and short skirts, but the style, my dear, the style. Enough art and old buildings to keep the tourists happy and for me lots of streets lined with designer shops. Not that I had a lot of money to spend but even in the classiest of designer HQ’s you can browse the rails and I made a special effort to find the showroom of Gianfranco Ferre, one of my favourite designers, where I could have drowned in the drooping, looping cuts of his finest pieces.

You can find a lot of the "alternative" bars and clubs near Milan’s monstrous railway station but for a night-out worthy of a classy "girl-about-town" you have to go further afield and I headed for GASOLINE, one of Sherry’s recommendations. It’s a night-club, O.K, but full of stylish Milanese youth, where girls in black body-suits and white-faces dance artistically on the low tables, and the resident drag is ‘Myra’, whose big hair, lips and figure can be found around the club, alongside the bar and occasionally entangled with a clubber, especially if he’s young and gay. A lot of very glam young people crowd onto a dance-floor over-cooled by fans, - style note – only wear your sunglasses on your head not over your eyes in Milan, and only at night. Oh, and kilts are still en vogue there.

I was adopted by S****. He wasn’t one of the beautiful people but a bit of an expert on the local sex-scene. That was how I ended up being chauffeured round the inner suburbs in the early hours for a tour of the sex-industry, - big Brazilian trannies propping up road-signs at junctions and climbing out of cars, tenement-doorways spilling over with punters and TG lovelies, accounts of the love-for-sale life-style which deflated a few illusions.

When I finally separated from S**** before breakfast I had learned a few lessons about Italian lovers. One – they like to boast about taking risks, - no seatbelts, no condoms, - so be firm with them, girls! And Two – they don’t always deliver the goods.

The next night I struck luckier at NUOVA IDEA which is a huge dance-hall on Via de Castella where, on Saturday nights, the place is heaving with trannies and their admirers. At 14 Euros it’s expensive to get in and the first thing you see there is a dance-floor crowded with….elderly couples dancing the tango to a Latin band! But that’s the trick – it’s two worlds in one and the other is a techno-disco just a door away where the huge platforms, crystal heels, chokers, slit skirts and thick mascara tell you that it’s a kind of tranny heaven. It doesn’t take long to get attention at NUOVA IDEA. My look – long lace cat-suit, long fair hair, big eyes –was immediately spotted – "Bardot!" and I had a fine time shimmying between the bar and the tango and the techno, and the cheeky local boys interested in the size of my "cazzo", - or theirs,- and the washrooms.

I made friends with Francesca, and Myra from Mexico and some very cute local gay-boys, but my heart was won over in the late hours by L****, a hospital car-parking attendant who dived in for some sudden deep kissing, and what followed was the nicest time I’ve had in Italy. Practical Note about Italian gay-friendly Hotels – they keep an eye out for you , wonder where you’ve got to, if you’re back late and keep hold of your lover’s I.D. card while he’s in your room. Very re-assuring. In Milan I recommend the hotel CHARLEY.

It was in Milan by the way that I received many expressions of sympathy – "Your old Queen is dead – we are so sorry for you." well maybe I’m not as much of a royalist as I should be. But a Queen’s a queen, for all that.

And so Romero heads South for Rome, on a speedy Euro-Train, - my first visit to the city. Fountains, pines, Carnival, traffic, all the images rose up before me on the train, and I recalled seeing a film, "Nights of Cabiria", a few years ago about the working girls of the Eternal City. Well, it wasn’t going to be like that, was it? I stayed at the LA’BELLE hotel right by the Forum. As you know Rome ruins are, everywhere, all the time. I just hadn’t got the stamina to make out one from the other so I stuck to shopping and to a few places where a friend took me, like the house where Goethe had his first real amour, and wrote poems about her. One day, Mandy, I said to myself, someone will do the same for you. The weather was getting warmer, and of course the city was crowded. I threw coins in the Trevi Fountain for Sherry and me (so we’d come back some day), and was like a real tourist for a while, except that I avoided the ruins.

Oh, yes, the nightlife. The social climax to my trip was at MUCASSASSIMA, the big party-night run on Saturdays by the local Gay and Lesbian Association in a hotel on the far edge of the city centre. I trotted along to the Piazza Venezia to find a taxi-driver to take me there. When I arrived it was all quite classy and sophisticated and I was glad I’d one for my black slit evening-dress and a starlet look. I was soon befriended by Laura and Mario who had taken the trouble to look like stars of a Wild West Porn-epic, and by Massimo, the Association’s head man. I told him I was a writer, for our own illustrious Tranny Guide, and later onstage he made a speech and introduced me to the crowd. It was only later that I discovered he’d said I was a writer for "The Times"! I’ve had E-Mails since asking me when the article’s due to appear!

There was a stage-show, with a tranny MC and belly-dancers, and lots of dancing all over the place. Italy isn’t as big on drag-shows as, say, the U.S. but they like their trannies, and they like their parties. At 3.30 it started to clear and I began to despair of getting back to my hotel with all the crowds heading for taxis. I didn’t fancy the long walk in my stilettos! But Laura and Mario came to my rescue and gave me a lift in their car – with Mario a little the worse for wear, so there were a few stops before I was dropped off on Via Cavour and waved grateful thanks as they drove away. Rome, what a city! Chaos and romance combined. Sherry was right, and I’ll certainly be going back to Italy. The coins in the fountain will make sure of that. Cheap at the price!



photos of Mandy Romero by Olan