Arrivederci Lucio

Italian Singing Superstar Dies, Everyone Forgets to Mention He’s Gay

The death of Italian singing legend Lucio Dalla last week has reminded a mourning public of even more sadness: It’s still not okay to be both famous and openly gay in Italy.

Dalla’s emotional songs were part of the fabric of Italian music for more than three and half decades. His death last Thursday was met with an outpouring of national grief, and he was given a lavish funeral in the cathedral of Bologna, his hometown. 50,000 people came out to pay their respects in person, and the event was carried live on national television.

Just one oversight: No one mentioned that Dalla was gay.

True, the 68-year-old Dalla had never come out publicly as gay during his lifetime, though it was an open secret. And his companion, Marco Alemanno, was allowed to give a moving eulogy to the man most knew as his longtime lover — albeit while pegged as merely a “close associate” by the most of the Italian media.

“The funeral of Lucio Dalla is one of the strongest examples of what it means to be gay in Italy,” remarked Italian TV commentator Lucia Annunziata. “You go to church, they give you a funeral and they bury you according to Catholic tradition, as long as you don’t say you’re gay.”

Italian gay rights advocate Franco Grillini noted the conspicuous absence of Dalla’s own music at his funeral.

“[The Catholic Church’s] choice was maybe due to fear of references to the freedom to love in many of his songs,” said Grillini.

Watch Dalla perform one of his most famous compositions, “Caruso”:

Images via YouTube and Lucarelli

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #catholicchurch #italy #luciodalla stories and more


  • MikeE

    there is a rather important proportion of great creative artists who are/were gay.

    if I name all of my favourite composers of classical music, pretty much every single 20th century one is gay.

  • Cam

    That is the sick thing even about the liberal press and celeb magazines here. They treat being gay like it is a dirty secret.

    Rosie O’Donnell showed up for years to events with her girlfriend walking 10 feet behind her and sitting next to her at tables and yet the magazines still gleefully reported on her “Crush” on Tom Cruise.

  • CBRad

    Well…I know Italy well. Love it, but they’re still way too stuffy on the gay thing, especially compared to their northern neighbors.

  • Tyler

    MikeE a lot of them are bisexual as well. I really do not care if they didn’t mention that he’s gay since there’s more to a person than their sexuality, and if you do any research on the person you’ll find out what their sexuality is.

  • Aron Fahrtzmeller

    So he is gay, big deal! What business of yours, or mine is it anyway? What relevance does his being gay have to do with his talent? Are you implying that he was talented because he was gay, if so, then you are very much mistaken. There is no relationship whatsoever between being gay and being talented. I know many gay and straight people who are completely devoid of talent and many who are imbued with talent. This entire ‘Pride’ bullshit is stupid and demeaning, how can you be proud of something that you have no control over. Next there’ll be a gender pride movement, yeah, as if you had control over that as well!

  • Jakey

    @Aron Fahrtzmeller: “What relevance does his being gay have to do with his talent?”

    None at all, obviously. And that would be the reason to NOT go through the trouble of keeping it a secret and using weaselly phrases like “longtime associate” and all of that nonsense. Why bother? It’s not important enough for an entire country to make a big deal out of keeping it under wraps.

    As for what you said about the “pride” concept, think of it as “absence of shame” and it will probably make more sense. It’s a response to the idea that one should be ashamed for something which, as you say, they have no control over and has nothing to do with whether they’re talented, a good person, etc.

  • Lou Koumades

    I wonder why her “emeNancey” the Bishop and all the clergy presiding at this funeral didn’t leave the altar when Dalla’s partner was giving his eulogy!!! This is a perfect example of the duplicitous “Nature” of the Catholic Church… but I guess that is the “Natural Order” of things in the “Universal World of the Roman Church!!!!! and then again I suppose “Tis better to BURY Caesar than to Praise him.”

Comments are closed.