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Rome is the 3rd most popular city for tourists in Europe – and there’s a good reason for it! The Vatican City, ancient ruins, Renaissance art and outstanding gastronomic experiences are just a few of the highlights of Rome, making the Italian capital a traveler’s true paradise!  
Disabled travelers will encounter several challenges in Rome including uneven ground in the Roman ruins, cobblestones on the streets, and limited accessible transportation options, however, in my opinion, it’s worth tackling them!

In this month’s newsletter, I’m sharing parts of my Rome Access Review with you. It includes the Best and Worst aspects of Rome disabled access, based on my own experiences visiting Rome in my wheelchair…
My Wife Tiffany and I visiting the Vatican
Best Aspects of Rome Disabled Access
Many Accessible Dining Options – In several areas of the city, numerous restaurants with outdoor accessible dining are grouped in a single place. Rather than search block after block for a Rome wheelchair accessible restaurant, you can plan your day to finish at places like the Piazza Navona or Campo de Fiori (shown in the picture below) for numerous accessible restaurants to choose from. Many of our Rome wheelchair accessible hotels are located near accessible restaurants.

You can bypass the steep ramp – In 2009, an outdoor elevator was installed at the Roman Forum so wheelchair tourists will no longer need to push up the long steep ramp to get up to the street level. While some of the Forum still isn’t accessible to wheelchair users, the parts that are makes it worth visiting the ruins!

Accessibility at the Roman Forum- John Sage

Great Accessible Tours in Rome – The sights in Rome are spectacular and the history behind them are even better. A variety of accessible walking and driving tours are available in Rome. You can choose from multiple, memorable private accessible tours,with expert tour guides experienced in touring the city with disabled visitors. 

The Eternal City – Rome has been around for a long time giving disabled tourists plenty of things to see and do. Disabled tourists can easily spend a week here without ever needing to switch hotels or move between cities.
The gladiators had to use the stairs – But disabled tourists at the Colosseum can use the elevator! A step-free entrance leads past the ticket window to the elevator. The biggest challenge for wheelchair access at Rome’s Coliseum is a small stretch of cobblestones in the interior (shown in the picture below).

Why settle for just one city? – Rome has easy connections by accessible train to Florence (1.5 hours), Naples (2 hours), and Venice (3.5 hours). It’s an ideal base for exploring other Italian cities!
Most Challenging Aspects of Rome Disabled Access
A bumpy ride – The cobblestones date back hundreds of years, and some of the ruins date back thousands of years… and they haven’t withstood the effect of time too well. The uneven ground and enormous uneven paving stones near the Roman Forum, Colosseum, and Apian Way present challenges to wheelchair users. The central part of Rome where the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and Spanish Steps are found have cobblestones with 3 star smoothness which make getting around Rome in a wheelchair difficult.

The City of 7 Hills – Rome did not get the name “the city of 7 hills” for no reason. Some of the hills are quite steep, and the streets and sidewalks going up them can present problems for manual wheelchair users and other disabled tourists visiting Rome. In other places, you may be traveling along a sidewalk to be met by a flight of stairs to continue to the next street (an example of this is shown in picture below).
Medieval streets – Central Rome which houses the Pantheon, the Piazza Navona, and the Campo de Fiori was originally a swamp that was drained by the Romans. In this part of Rome, it can be difficult to navigate from attraction to attraction and there are virtually no sidewalks. You’ll need to share the cobblestone streets with the cars.

2 Vatican entrances – Visiting Vatican City takes at least a half a day. Unfortunately, Rome disabled tourists and their families will have to use two separate entrances. The Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel are accessed by the entrance on the north side of Vatican City on Viale Vaticano street. The accessible entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica is located on St. Peter’s Square on the east side of Vatican city (ramp into church shown below). Most tourists can get between the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica using a flight of stairs, but disabled tourists will need to take a 15 minute walk/roll along the outside of the city to get between the two.

Few accessible public transportation options – The large distances between tourist attractions and the presence of cobblestones and hills make it necessary to use accessible transportation in Rome. Unfortunately, there are few accessible public transportation options in Rome. There are only 3 metro lines with only a few accessible metro stations. Additionally, only a few accessible bus lines exist.
What do our clients say?
“I am grateful for the exceptional service provided throughout the planning stages of our Italy vacation. No one in our party had ever traveled outside the United States so this trip was very special to us. 
For my mother, it was her lifelong dream to travel to Italy. I’m glad I trusted Sage Travel to help make her dream come true. 
Our vacation was amazing. From the moment we arrived in Rome everything went as planned. Our drivers were always early or right on time. Our tour guides were outstanding! Very knowledgeable and enthusiastic while sharing the history of the cities we were visiting and describing the artwork we were seeing.

While our private guide was talking directly to us I noticed large groups passing by. The people were all wearing headphones and following a tour guide 30 feet away holding a flag so they didn’t get lost. That is NOT the way to tour Italy. Private guided tours by Sage are worth every penny!

Sage selected wonderful hotels for each city we visited. All were wheelchair accessible and accommodating to our needs. All hotels included breakfast and it was much more than coffee and donuts! Fresh meats, cheeses, pastries, even bacon and eggs! 
If you are considering a handicapped accessible trip, but don’t want the hassle of planning it yourself I highly recommend Sage Travel! 
Did you Know?
Italy has several other beautiful wheelchair accessible cities worth visiting, including Florence and Venice! You can easily enjoy an extended Italian “vacanza” visiting multiple cities, using wheelchair friendly trains, hotels and guided tours already researched and proven accessible!


Contact us today to start planning your memorable accessible European Holiday!
Travel Wisely,
John Sage, Founder and President of Sage Traveling

Sage Traveling, 3319 Stoney Brook, Houston, TX 77063
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