Southern Italy is not easy for travellers with disabilities. Cobblestone streets and pavements blocked by parked cars and scooters make getting around difficult for wheelchair users. While many buildings have lifts, they are not always wide enough for wheelchairs. Overall, not a lot has been done to make life easier for hearing- or vision-impaired travellers either.
That said, awareness of the importance of accessibility and a culture of inclusion is steadily spreading, and a growing number of museums and archaeological sites are becoming more accessible, with wheelchair-friendly ramps and pathways. Among these are Pompeii in Campania and Villa Romana del Casale and Valley of the Temples in Sicily.
If you have an obvious disability and/or appropriate ID, many museums and galleries offer free admission for yourself and a companion.
- Airline companies will arrange assistance at airports if you notify them of your needs in advance.
- If travelling by train, you can arrange assistance through SalaBlu online (https://salabluonline.rfi.it) or by calling 800 90 60 60 (from a landline) or 02 32 32 32 (from a landline or mobile).
- Visit the information page of Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (www.rfi.it/rfi-en/For-persons-with-disability) for full details of services offered and barrier-free stations.
- Many buses in larger southern Italian cities are wheelchair-accessible; however some of the stops may not be – enquire before you board.
- Some taxis are equipped to carry passengers in wheelchairs; ask for a taxi for a sedia a rotelle (wheelchair).
- If you are driving, EU disabled parking permits are recognised in Italy, giving you the same parking rights that local drivers with disabilities have.
Accessible Travel Online Resources
- Village for All (www.villageforall.net/en) lists a small number of accommodation options in southern Italy suitable for those with limited mobility.
- Tourism without Barriers (www.turismosenzabarriere.it) has a limited database of accessible accommodation in southern Italy.
- You can find a list (in Italian) of accessible beaches at www.fondazioneserono.org/disabilita/spiagge-accessibili/spiagge-accessibili.
- Download Lonely Planet's free Accessible Travel guide from http://shop.lonelyplanet.com/accessible-travel
Accessible Travel Agencies
Cosy for You A Naples-based organisation offering a number of services for travellers with disabilities, including equipment hire, transfers, accommodation and restaurant bookings, as well as sightseeing tours of Campania.
Rome & Italy A mainstream travel agency with a well-developed accessible tourism arm that offers customised tours, accessible accommodation, and equipment and vehicle hire. Its Wheely Trekky service, which uses a specially designed sedan/rickshaw with sherpas, allows wheelchair users to easily tour the ruins of Pompeii.
Accessible Italy (www.accessibleitaly.com) A San Marino–based non-profit company that specialises in holiday services for people with disabilities, including equipment rental, adapted vehicle hire and arranging personal assistants.
Fausta Trasporti Has a fleet of wheelchair-accessible vehicles that can carry up to seven people, including three wheelchair users. It’s based in Rome, but operates day trips to Naples, Pompeii, Caserta and the Amalfi Coast.
Sage Traveling (www.sagetraveling.com) A US-based accessible travel agency, offering tailor-made tours to assist mobility-impaired travellers in Europe. Check out its website for a detailed access guide to Naples and surrounds.