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Property and holiday accommodation with wheelchair access

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Nearly 45 million people a year visit Italy, drawn by its peerless history and world famous landmarks.
 
Unfortunately, when architects were designing the Colosseum and the Pantheon two millennia ago, wheelchair ramps and sturdy handrails did not come into their thinking.
 
Things have improved in recent years, with many churches and museums now having ramps and most hotels rated three-star and above having disability-friendly rooms on the lowest floors.
 
If you’re disabled, there is no reason why you should not enjoy your trip to Italy. Here are our tips for ensuring that you do so:
 
1) Book hotels months in advance if possible, because many have a limited supply of disability-friendly rooms.  First, carefully examine various hotels online. Do not hesitate to phone them to query what facilities they have (eg, is there a roll-in shower? Grab rails?) as online descriptions can sometimes be misleading.
 
2) Equip yourself with a city accessibility map beforehand like this one for Venice. It will list disability-friendly facilities such as parking lots, WCs, etc.
 
3) In Rome, you may wish to avoid areas with cobbled streets, many of them plagued by loose and uneven cobblestones. This means localities such as the Trevi Fountain, Campo dei Fiori and the Pantheon. Alternatively, you may wish to use Google’s Street View function to examine the lie of the land around your hotel and places that you intend to visit. If, however, you’re on a mobility scooter or power wheelchair, you may wish to base yourself in the heart of Rome within easy reach of sights such as the Vatican and Colosseum.
Consider taking one of the city’s accessible bus tours.
 
4) Venice now has wheelchair lifts for the mobility impaired at some of its 400+ footbridges. However, not all of them are functional.
A safer bet is to travel around on one of the city’s vaporetto water buses.
Buy a one-way ticket (there’s a discount for disabled passengers) instead of the price one-day or multi-day pass. Note that vaporetti are most crowded in late morning and the afternoons, so you may want to avoid these peak periods.
Bear in mind also that when vaporetti are packed they float lower in the water, which can mean anything up to a 1ft drop from dock to boat deck.
In addition, a number of the city’s iconic gondolas are now wheelchair-accessible.
 
5) Book tickets for museums and other attractions in advance. At some sites, this is a compulsory for entry. At others, it means you don’t have to spend ages waiting in a queue. In similar vein, before visiting churches, research online in advance to find out if they have disability-friendly entrances.
 
6) Alternatively, consider using a licensed, specialist tour operator such as this one, who will book accessible accommodation for you and lay on suitable transport to ferry you around. A company such as this one should be able to assist if you are consider renting an accessible home for your stay or buying one as a holiday home.

Edited