Visiting Venice in a Wheelchair - November 2011 Newsletter
When most people think of Venice, they generally envision canals, bridges, and gondolas, all of which present challenges for disabled travelers. But this is one of my favorite accessible cities in Europe…and yes, it is actually accessible, with no cobblestones and a completely flat terrain.
With enough planning, visiting Venice with a disability is entirely possible. Spend time on accessibility research before your trip, and get ready for an amazing experience in Venice!
Accessible Venice Travel Tips
- Make it out of the densely populated tourist areas. While popular tourist flocking posts do hold a value all their own, Sage Traveling knows that the best way to truly understand a culture, is to head toward the locals. Spend minimal time in the St. Mark’s neighborhood, and instead find out where Venice residents eat, shop, and live everyday life. Visit at least 5 Venice neighborhoods on your trip to get a taste of Venice’s truest character.
- Finding accessible Venice hotels is more complicated than in other Italian cities. Ask about the accessibility of the surrounding neighborhood around your hotel, and also find out if the hotel has bridges between the hotel and the vaporetto dock.
- The vaporetto boats float lower in the water when they are full, forming a step to exit the boat. One great rule to remember is to be the “First on, Last Off”, to minimize the height difference at the dock, which is illustrated in ouraccessible Venice vaporetto videos.
- Understanding where the bridges are located before traveling will make your trip significantly easier. You can utilize Google maps to discover these bridges, including those that are partially handicap accessible.
- Most of the churches, museums and large attractions are rivaled by, if not superior in other Italian cities, so instead pick activities and sights along the canals. I especially like the markets where you can grab a quick snack or view the fresh catch of the day which is likely to end up on your plate in a local eatery. This being said, still plan on visiting the two tourist hot spots in Venice: the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica. While the city of Venice is an attraction unto itself, these should be on your itinerary.
- Get to know Venice personally through an accessible guided tour. Many group guided tours go over bridges, so inquire with the tour company to ensure that their route is wheelchair accessible. If you are unable to locate a group tour to meet your needs, hiring a private guide to show you around the city is a great alternative. Sage Traveling can provide several guides with experience giving tours to disabled visitors.
View more Venice Disabled Travel Tips
Featured Accessible Venice Tourist Attraction:
The Doge’s Palace
The Doge’s Palace is my favorite accessible tourist attraction in Venice.
The art is magnificent and the audioguide does an excellent job of explaining the history of Venice as it unfolded here. The ticket office is not accessible so you’ll need a companion to go inside and purchase your ticket. In the back right of the complex, a staff member can escort you to an elevator to reach the upper floors but the Bridge of Sighs and the Armory are not wheelchair accessible.
Read all about Disabled Access at the Doge’s Palace.
Our familiarity with disabled access in Venice enables us to provide top-notch accessible vacations in Venice. We have a variety of Venice Accessible Travel Packages to help make your trip to Venice an amazing experience.
John Sage, Founder and President of Sage Traveling