There are few experiences quite like visiting Italy. The unique ambience brings tourists back year after year, and the gorgeous landmarks are enjoyed by citizens and visitors alike. Italy does have a few characteristics that disabled travellers need to be aware of however, with many of its villages and towns featuring cobbled streets, for instance. It’s also common to find its town and villages perched atop steep hills to offer exquisite views.
With this in mind, preparation is key. We’ve teamed up with an Italian stairlift company to find the most accessible-friendly landmarks in Italy to help you plan your trip.
The Colosseum in Rome
A trip to Rome isn’t complete without seeing the famous Colosseum. Originally named the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Colosseum housed the infamously bloody battles between gladiators. The Colosseum’s creation built over Emperor Nero’s palace, a deliberate move by Emperor Vespesian in order to remove any association between him and the tyrannical previous emperor.
The Colosseum was built to let 55,000 spectators in easily, and that design has certainly helped accessibility in modern times. Its main entrance is free of steps, and the interior ground is smooth and flat. There are elevators to higher levels but be aware that some parts of the Colosseum interior have cobblestones and steps.
There are wheelchair-specific tours available to book, which allow eligible tourists to bypass the long ticket line.
Opening times: Monday to Sunday from 08:30 to 19:00.
Address: Piazza del Colosseo, 1, 00184 Roma, Italy.
Sure, you can head to many shopping centres in Italy. But you should make time to step into history’s shopping centre, the Trajan’s Market. The ruin served as an activity hub for over 200 years, housing shops and businesses for Romans. It is a fantastic link and reminder that life today and life back then shared more similarities than perhaps we realise.
Two elevators operate in Trajan’s Market, so you can see the second and third levels. There are some large cobblestones in lower areas (also accessible by an elevator) to be aware of if you use a wheelchair, however.
Opening times: Monday to Sunday from 09:30 to 19:30.
Address: Via Quattro Novembre, 94, 00187 Roma, Italy.
Herculaneum is the sister city of Pompeii, and like its kin, it was destroyed by Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Sage Travelling recommends Herculaneum over Pompeii for visitors with mobility issues as Herculaneum is smaller and has much better accessibility.
You certainly won’t be missing out on any of the tragic tale of Mount Vesuvius by visiting Herculaneum over Pompeii though. In fact, because this city was covered in mud rather than ash like Pompeii was, Herculaneum is far better preserved. The carbonisation process of this mud and pyroclastic material also resulted in wood and other organic materials to be preserved.
There are two wheelchair ramps to access Herculaneum. Many of the streets and buildings have step-free access, with a few buildings having a step to enter. The visitor centre also has a wheelchair-friendly access route.
Opening times: April to October from 08:30 to 19:30 / November to March from 08:30 to 17:00.
Address: Ercolano, Campania, Italy.
Opera Duomo Museum
With over 750 works of art, the Opera Duomo Museum will introduce you to 720 years of history. From marble statues to bronze reliefs, the gallery plays home to a multitude of artists through the eons, including:
- Arnolfo di Cambio
- Luca della Robbia
- Michelangelo Buonarroti
The art gallery is fully accessible. It has elevator access at the start and the end of the visit. There is also an access ramp to the entrance, and lifts to access all floors. There is also an accessible toilet for visitors with disabilities.
Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday from 08:15 to 18:50.
Address: Opera di Santa Maria Del Fiore di Firenze, Via della Canonica, 1, 50122, Firenze, Italy.
Italy has no shortage of accessible landmarks, and the above is just a small selection of what’s on offer. Will you be making a trip to Italy in the near future?