Venice is a dream: we have seen a thousand films set in the city’s incredible streets and canals, have in our eyes the paintings of Canaletto depicting this city once very powerful and rich, and now one of the top world touristic attractions.
There really is no need to suggest what you can see in Venice: what we want to tell you is that, even with the bridges and the canals and the apparently inaccessible architectonic features, Venice is a city that is highly enjoyable by people with different special needs.
At a first glance it would appear incredibly complicated to move around, but the fact is that both the local public administrations and the local tourist service providers have been doing a great job in making the city accessible for people with mobility impairment and other disabilities.
Moving around in Venice for people in a manual or electric wheelchair can seem challenging? Well, the Municipality of this very special city has a solution: they have created full detailed accessible itineraries divided by area. You can read them online, and download each one as a very practical PDF to bring along. The itineraries include information on the heritage sites, the accessible bridges and streets (“calli”) and the best way to get to places or to see them, when they are not accessible, from a great viewpoint. It also includes public accessible toilets on the way.
Always dreamt of a romantic tour on a gondola? Well, dream no more: some very cool gondolieri have created just the thing for people in wheelchairs: a special lift to get you on and off a real gondola, in all comfort. Gondolas4all is a great project, and you can book your “ride” in their website (link in the Tours section).
Want to be sure you can make it with your chair? They have a maximum size/weight: width 70 cm, lenght 100 cm and weight 180kg. For more info you can ask them directly and one more thing: these gondolieri are also very happy to take people with all special needs.
Venice is also a summer beach destination, in case you should whish for a day of relax and just lounge, the Lido is for you! Reachable via the “vaporetto” boats, it had equipped three baths for beachgoers with special mobility needs. The baths, managed by Venezia Spiagge, are the “Lungomare d’Annunzio”, the “San Nicolò” and the “Blue moon”. They offer easy access for people in wheelchairs, special chairs for swimming and showers and changing rooms.
Inspired enough? Get packing then and get ready for a real treat!
Moving around in Venice for people with mobility impairments is not easy, mostly because of the (wonderfully beautiful) structure of the city: the canals, the bridges, or the fact that to reach some places you have to use a “vaporetto” (public transport ferries). The city is ancient: most restaurants and shops have steps, not to mention the fact that during the winter there is high water, most likely in November and December, which means that the city gets flooded and you risk getting stuck in your hotel or apartment for a few hours!
But for a city with such terrible starting points, Venice is extremely enjoyable for people with disabilities for many reasons.
First of all, most vaporetto lines are accessible, thanks to ramps that are laid out for you when you need to board and disembark. The full list and itineraries are at the link below. Once you are on, the vaporetto is a great way to explore the city from a great point of view, and almost for free! The normal tickets are very expensive (7,50 EUR), but the fee for disabled travellers is of 1,50 EUR and the person accompanying travels for free.
Not all bridges are un-accessible and during the winter months (including the carnival period) there are wide practical wooden ramps laid out to allow you to cross most of the unaccessible ones in the central part of town.
The itineraries presented by the Venice Municipality (you can find them at the link above) are a great tool: if you follow them, you can avoid the harder parts of town and they include the location of accessible public toilets. Add the accessible gondolas and a good selection of adapted hotels, with all ranges of prices, and your trip to Venice is not as difficult as you would think.
The mapping of accessible public toilets is also guaranteed by a website and free mobile app entirely dedicated to this.
The main airport in the area is Venice Marco Polo, but there is also an airport in Treviso, the A. Canova Airport (TSF). Treviso is a lovely city half an hour away from Venice by train. The Treviso airport is very small but accessible.
Accessibility in the Marco Polo airport is very well managed, with a lot of practical information, maps and further information available at the links below. The Airport has a mobile landing stage at the dock, free reserved parking, and a “Sala amica” lounge near the boarding gates in the Departures hall.
Their service includes accompanying people with reduced mobility (temporary or permanent) and all other disabilities. They have a special project for people with autism, to help manage the airport passage.
To reach Venice from the Marco Polo airport you can take one of the accessible boats of Alilaguna.
Alilaguna – From the Airport to the city and back
Venice Marco Polo – Information on accessibility and special assistance
Venice Marco Polo – Useful tips on how to get from the airport to the city from Sage Travelling
Venice Marco Polo – Official map of the airport’s accessible facilities
Venice Marco Polo – Useful information for travellers with autism
International Airport A. Canova Treviso (TSF) – Information on accessibility and special assistance