Lonely Planet Writer

Accessible route around world-famous Pompeii archaeological site unveiled

Italy’s Culture Minister Dario Franceschini has inaugurated a new wheelchair-accessible pathway through Italy’s most famous Roman-era archaeological site at Pompeii.

Tourists consult maps at Pompeii.
Tourists consult maps at Pompeii. Image by Getty Images

The three-kilometre-long path extends all the way between the site’s two main entrances – the Porta Marina entrance in the west and the Piazza Anfiteatro entrance in the east. On the way, it provides access to 20 of the ancient city’s most important sights, including the Casa della Venere in Conchiglia, with its striking fresco of the goddess Venus in a seashell, and the Orto dei Fuggiaschi, filled with plaster moulds of victims of the huge volcanic eruption of Vesuvius, which destroyed the ancient city.

Tourists walk past Via dell'Abbondanza (Pompeii's main street) on November 14, 2010 in Pompeii, Italy.
Tourists walk past Via dell’Abbondanza (Pompeii’s main street) on 14 November, 2010 in Pompeii, Italy. Image by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

The route is Italy’s longest accessible pathway through an archaeological site. It utilises metal ramps and wooden bridges to bypass the ancient cobbles, steps and other obstacles that would previously have made the majority of the site impossible for wheelchair users to explore. In addition to wheelchair users, the path is also ideal for parents with children in a pushchair, and anyone with reduced mobility. There are also plans for a special high-tech bracelet that will allow partially sighted visitors to explore the site more easily.

Pompeii, Campania, Italy.
Pompeii, Campania, Italy. Image by LisaG/Budget Travel

The Pompeii per Tutti (Pompeii for All) scheme forms part of a €105 million restoration funded by the EU, and was unveiled in the run-up to the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December. The construction work uncovered 1700 archaeological finds, which are being catalogued in preparation for a special exhibition.