Lonely Planet Writer

Venice's famous gondolas finally become wheelchair accessible

Venice is finally making its famed gondolas wheelchair accessible.

Gondola's in San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice
Gondola’s in San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice Image by Matt Munro/Lonely Planet

Visitors to the city are familiar with its winding laneways, its many steps and small bridges that bring together its infinity of water-locked areas and mazes. The result, while beautiful, means that Venice is possibly one of the least wheelchair accessible cities in the world.

But that image is now being challenged by two gondoliers and their project #Gondolas4all. On Friday they unveiled the first ever access ramps for wheelchair users.

Gondoliers Alessandro Della Pieta and Enrico Greifenberg decided they needed to make gondolas available to people in wheelchairs a priority after they realised no one else was, and after they kept having to disappoint people in wheelchairs who were looking forward to a gondola ride. Della Pieta said he’d seen “people in wheelchairs dozens of times looking at us as if we were the last Coca-Cola in the desert. It tugged at my heart.”

The project is part public, part privately funded and it will go into effect in the following six weeks. You can follow their progress here

Read more:

Accessible Melbourne: highlights for people with special needs

Most accessible travel destinations

London for visitors with a disability