Disabled access in Italy comprises a slew of barriers such as hills, ancient ruins, and cobblestones. And as if that weren't enough, accessible public transportation choices are few and far between as well. But fret not; people with a disability can still visit Italy without breaking much of a sweat as long as they plan their trip to a T.
It is imperative to bear in mind that disabled access in Italy varies from city to city. To make things worse, each city presents a different obstacle. Let's check out the most challenging and the most favorable factors to consider while making your way around the cities.
Strong points: Best features of Italy disabled access
It is easy to pay a visit to several cities in just one trip. For people looking for a trip to Europe that includes different cities, Italy is by far the best option. Italy is brimming with the awe-inspiring countryside, big cities, and a bunch of small towns. Disabled travelers can easily make their way through them either by train or wheelchair accessible van.
Traveling by train - Touring around various Italian cities by train is ideal for a disabled traveler. Main cities including Rome Italy, Milan, Venice, and Florence have accessible train stations that are banded together with seating and toilets exclusively designed for the physically disabled. That being said, smaller cities may not offer fully accessible trains. If you need help touring around the cities by train, you should reserve it at least a day (24 hours) before by getting in touch with Trenitalia.
Extending trips via accessible day trips - Switching hotels can be quite laborious, especially for a traveler with a disability. But much to the relief of disabled travelers, Italy offers ample options when it comes to taking a day trip to see another city without having to leave your current hotel. In Italy, a traveler can stay in three hotels while exploring as many as six cities. Different languages - Visitors from across the globe come to Italy and they speak different languages. Guides in the tourist areas of town and others associated with the tourism industry communicate with these out-of-towners by speaking English. However, it would be perfect for disabled travelers to know some Italian accessibility phrases.
Drawbacks: Most unfavorable characteristics of Italy disabled access
Roman ruins can be back breaking - About 2000 years ago, Italy was the focal point of the civilized realm, and Romans left major ruins for tourists today to explore. Several of them, including the Colosseum, are wheelchair accessible in all regards. While Pompeii and the Roman Forum is wheelchair accessible to some extent, they have rough terrain. Meanwhile, there are steps for touring around Palatine Hill.
The inaccessible Cinque Terre - It comprises a slew of aged seaside villages located on the rocky Italian Riviera coastline. Despite being popular tourist attractions, these towns that form Cinque Terre are quite hard to be explored thanks to the hills and steps.
Negative feedback about Venice - The internet is rife with bad information about Venice, discouraging disabled tourists from staying in the beautiful capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region that's developed on over 100 tiny islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. Several websites deem Venice as extremely inaccessible, which is not actually true. Contrary to the aforesaid reports, Venice is accessible even with a heavy duty wheelchair if you plan correctly before your trip.
Other drawbacks - Aside from that, several Italian streets are covered with cobblestones making it hard for wheelchair users to travel. Moreover, some cities are situated in extremely hilly regions with some Tuscany towns such as Pisa and Siena posing a challenge to manual wheelchair users. Besides, only a few Italian cities have options for disabled people to travel. Metro and accessible bus lines in Rome are quite scarce.
Image: Stephanie Overton / flickr