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Bologna Rendezvous – May 2022

Updated: Jul 5, 2022

Team Bologna kicked off the weekend with a welcome meet with wine and appetizers on the Friday evening. Our hosts presented us with welcome bags.

We were shown their lovely city by the VV Bologna team headed by Nicola Mainardi. There was a short guided walking tour on Saturday morning, we started in the Piazza Maggiore with the famous fountain and statue of Neptune, the location for the Friday evening big film and singing event at Various Voices Bologna 2023.

Across the square we entered the magnificent Palazzo d’Accursio, the city hall, and sat in the Council chamber where we were addressed by the Deputy Mayor. She described the five year agreement about to be signed with a range of LGBTQ+ organisations in Bologna, and very much welcomed the arrival of the several thousand singers next year in Various Voices. Martin Brophy, our President responded on behalf of Legato.

Bologna is the LGBTQ+ capital of Italy, and there are more than 30 active LGBTQ+ organisations in the city. It has a reputation for being the most socially liberal of all Italian cities, and had a strong ‘Red’ past – communists and socialists and social democrats – and a very strong anti-fascist tradition.

We toured 3 or the 4 performance venues as well as the VV Village location, DumBo about 1.5km a good walk or 10 minute bus ride from Piazza Maggiore.

On Saturday evening we toured the very impressive international museum and library of Music of Bologna with a musical tour followed by a concert by “Il Quinto Elemento”, women's jazz improv ensemble.

The weekend ended with a lovely brunch at a queer friendly California Bakery to say good bye to new friends


Komos is the first LGBTQ+ male voice choir in Italy, as it was born in 2008. In 2015 Komos organized the first edition of Cromatica – Italian rainbow choir festival.

For all the latest information and updates please refer to the VV Bologna website.

Here is a bit more information we collected at the weekend.

Volunteering may be available but everyone has to register because there will be no day tickets for the concerts in the theatres.

Other performance opportunities

1. A day at the museum: singing during a public guided tour of a museum

2. V3 Performances: singing on the evening stages of the Various Voices Village, DumBo

3. VV and the city: singing in the city centre of Bologna, outdoors and in direct contact with people

4. The Festival: different locations are available. From the Binario Centrale for large choirs to the Baia for smaller ensembles.


Bologna is a city with one of the largest historic centers in Italy and offers many interesting places to visit. It has a large green area in the south of the city (the hills of bologna) where you can have outdoor experiences. but it is also a city famous for its openness to minority rights and the LGBTQ+ world. A range of guided tours is being offered to registered delegates (details on website).

City Map of Bologna
Map of inner old city walls – The theatres are all in the centre 5/10 minutes walk from each other.

Piazza Maggiore

It is Bologna’s beating heart and the place where for centuries the city life has had its natural stage. During Various Voices it is going to be the Great Gala’s wonderful venue.


All the venues are owned by the local council and are traditional older buildings with some accessibility limitations. Tech rehearsals will be run by inhouse teams. Venues are allocated based on enquiries to be made later to the registered choirs to establish their needs, numbers and access requests, as well as time restraints or other choir commitments. They were unsure if they will ask choirs to make a venue preference. And Choirs need to manage expectations as VVB will be delivered in a unique Italian style.

Teatro Auditorium Manzoni

Concert hall set in 1933, with stalls, two galleries and three balcony floors (1236 seats) max: 120 on stage. Warm up space in theatre, some steps.


Arena del Sole

Set in 1810, the Sala Grande has stalls, two tribunes and a gallery (888 seats) max: 60 on stage. Warm up in studio theatre downstairs and cloister open bar with small stage; lots of steps.


Teatro Duse

Set in 1822, 999-seat theatre, the twentieth-century frieze surmounts the proscenium with a majestic central chandelier. We did not visit as the theatre was in use. It sound like it may be anaccessible challenge.


Oratorio di San Filippo Neri

The Oratory of San Filippo Neri s a restored late-Baroque religious structure. It has 300 seats with a stage and 2 balconies /organ loft for up to 10 singers, fully restored it has ramp access from the street with 8 steps to main stage. Warm up is in building nearby.



The gathering point of nightlife during the festival will be Various Voices Village, which will be set in DumBO – Multifunctional urban district of Bologna: a 40k m2 surface urban area regenerated from a former freight yard. Recovered sheds and open areas are the perfect scenery for the opening and closing events. From sunset they will become dancefloors, with DJ-sets and other events. Everything will happen at a short distance from Bologna city centre and from the train- and bus-station. May be open to the public


MAMbo – Modern Art Museum of Bologna

... has hosted from 2007 on permanent modern and contemporary art collections, together with temporary exhibitions. The building was built in 1915 as “bread oven” of Bologna and is today part of Manifattura delle Arti, together with DAMS Faculty, Cineteca di Bologna and Cassero LGBTI Center.The museum has exhibition rooms, a bistrot and the CorrainiMAMbo art bookshop.

Bologna’s international music museum and library opened in 2004, is set inside the fascinating Palazzo Sanguinetti (in Strada Maggiore, city center). Its majestic collections of ancient instruments are placed in the richly decorated rooms, in order to celebrate music in every form and expression. An incredible space full of music treasures and a great space for small number only 8/10 singers.

Various voices Italy tour

Like in a ”prequel” of Bologna’s Festival, the choirs that have applied will have the chance to take part to events and concerts in other Italian cities, hosted by local LGBTQ+ choirs, before the beginning of 2023 edition (June 12th-13th):

All these concerts are going to be coordinated by Cromatica, the Italian rainbow choir's association.


There is a lot of mixed accommodation that is being handled by theirTeam Bologna’s organising agency, that offer VVB a 10%. Prices cannot be quoted until at least within 12 months. Email on website for bulk bookings.

Good international airport and train connections – monorail from airport to central station takes 7 minutes for around €9.20. Lots of buses about €1.50 per journey, decent app and connectivity. Both have touch and go technology for tickets. Bikes schemes and hire, scooter or vespa rentals are also available in this easy walking city.

Accessibility - Like most Italian cities Bologna being an UNESCO world heritage city, accessibility is a challenge. VVB trialed during the Rendezvous weekend a duo bike scheme to assist those less able to be moved around theatres in the day by volunteers.

Check out all current details at the VV Bologna website:

VV Team Bologna
VV Team Bologna

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