Much like the rest of Italy, the northern part of the country is not easy to get around for travellers with disabilities. As in much of Europe, wheelchair users have to put up with cobblestone streets, and although many buildings have lifts, they are not always wide enough for wheelchairs. Not a lot has been done to make life for the deaf and/or blind any easier either.
If you have an obvious disability and/or appropriate ID, many museums and galleries offer free admission for yourself and a companion.
Getting There & Around
Airline companies will arrange assistance at airports if you notify them of your needs in advance. Alternatively, contact ADR Assistance (www.adrassistance.it) for help at Fiumicino or Ciampino airports.
If you are driving, EU disabled parking permits are recognised in Italy, giving you the same parking rights that local drivers with disabilities have.
If travelling by train, ring the national helpline (199 303060) to arrange assistance (6.45am to 9.30pm daily); mainline trains should all have two reserved wheelchair places. Visit Rete Ferroviaria Italiana’s information page for people with disabilities and reduced mobility (www.rfi.it/rfi-en/For-persons-with-disability) for full details of services offered and barrier-free stations.
The region’s main public transport provider, ATM (www.atm.it/en/ViaggiaConNoi/Disabili/Pages/ATMperidisabili.aspx) has a page in English dedicated to information for passengers with disabilities. Check the bottom left panel for very useful, detailed information relating to specific impairments.
Some taxis are equipped to carry passengers in wheelchairs; ask for a taxi for a sedia a rotelle (wheelchair).
Accessible Travel Online Resources
Accessible Milan (www.turismo.milano.it/wps/portal/tur/en/milanopratica/milanoaccessibile) Official city tourism authority page for visitors with disabilities. In addition to details of 12 itineraries designed for tourists with disabilities, there’s also information about a project that has made 15 of the city’s most prominent churches accessible to all through the use of multisensory and multimedia panels for the vision-impaired.
disMappa Project (www.dismappa.it) Maps wheelchair-accessible places in Verona. In addition to the map itself, there’s basic information about the wheelchair accessibility of many of the city’s facilities – not just tourist sites, but also shops, restaurants and events. You can also find locations of accessible toilets. Scroll to the bottom of the page(s) to change the language from Italian to your language of choice.
Village for All (www.villageforall.net/en) Performs on-site audits of tourist facilities in Italy and San Marino. Most of the 70-plus facilities are accommodation providers, ranging from camping grounds to high-class hotels.
For tips on accessibility in Locarno, see www.ascona-locarno.com/en/Turismo-accessibile.html.
Download Lonely Planet's free Accessible Travel guides from http://lptravel.to/AccessibleTravel.
Accessible Travel Agencies
Rome & Italy A mainstream travel agency with a well-developed accessible tourism arm that offers customised tours, accessible accommodation, and equipment and vehicle hire.
Accessible Italy A San Marino–based nonprofit company that specialises in holiday services for people with disabilities, including equipment rental, adapted vehicle hire and arranging personal assistants.