Pompeii Disabled Access
Wheelchair accessibility is difficult in many places in Pompeii and impossible in others. You’re visiting a partially excavated 2000 year old Roman city that was buried and forgotten for hundreds of years.
Nevertheless, I was able to visit parts of Pompeii in my wheelchair. By combining a visit to Pompeii with a visit to the more wheelchair-friendly Herculaneum ruins, you can get a good idea of what happened on that fateful day in 79 AD.
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The article below provides:
– photos of the Pompeii disabled access challenges that wheelchair visitors will encounter
– a description of the the 3 entrances
– an accessible route to visit the large Pompeii theatre
– information about traveling to Pompeii
I gave Pompeii disabled access a 2 Star Sage Accessibility Rating because of of the uneven cobblestones, numerous stairs, and uneven terrain. Even though I gave it a low rating, there are still several areas that are accessible to disabled visitors.
Part 1: Accessibility between the train station and the main entrance
Disabled travel to Pompeii may be possible by train…it involves re-routing the train which is no small feat. See the “Getting to Pompeii with a Disability” section below for more details.
If you arrive by train at the Pompeii scavi station, it is 60 meters of flat smooth ground to reach the ticket office.
The main gate is the closest entrance to the Circumvesuvius train station. It has a wheelchair ramp (shown in the photo on the left).
If you visit on your own, you’ll need to wait in the ticket line. If you have an accessible Pompeii tour guide with you, you won’t need to wait in line. There is an accessible restroom located near the ticket line.
Part 2: Accessibility between the main entrance and the large theatre
The main entrance to Pompeii is not wheelchair accessible. You will need to go to one of the two entrances that run along the south side of the city. One of the easiest sites to visit is the large theatre. A description of the accessibility along the route is provided below.
(fairly flat and fairly smooth)
After you leave the ticket area, there is a wheelchair ramp leading toward the Pompeii ruins.
The main entrance requires an uphill push up cobblestones with 2 star smoothness…not something that wheelchair users will want to do! The photo on the right shows some of the stairs that disabled visitors will want to avoid.
I strongly recommend hiring a tour guide to visit Pompeii. While tour guides can be unnecessary in historical and archaeological museums that have english displays, there are no written descriptions in Pompeii. A tour guide can describe what roman life was like in this city and what happened in 79 AD.
Do you know what that small wall is with the blocks sticking out and the holes in the middle of them? A professionally-licensed Pompeii tour guide will let you know!
From the main entrance, you can follow a concrete path around the outside of the Pompeii ruins. It leads to a more wheelchair-friendly part of Pompeii.
There are stairs in several places (even the construction that was built 2000 years after Pompeii was buried).
At the 2nd entrance that is located along the south side of the city (see the map above), there is a small lip leading to ticket gate.
The wheelchair friendly exterior road continues from the 2nd entrance. There is a wheelchair ramp leading down into gladiators’ barracks.
Part 3: Accessibility in and near the large theater
Part of Pompeii near the large theatre has step-free access. Some of the ground is uneven and wheelchair users may need assistance.
step-free route in and around the large theatre
Accessible routes are available to avoid the long flight of stairs shown in the photo on the left. In the photo on the right, what is the significance of the difference between the rock on the left and the bricks on the right? And what is that rectangular hole for? A local tour guide will tell you!
There is a wheelchair ramp leading to the bathrooms. A few steps lead down into a small theatre.
An accessible path leads to the large theatre.
A wheelchair-friendly path connects the large theatre to street located to the east.
Wheelchair users can stay on that street for 1 block before needing to turn around.
This is why you will have to turn around. Ancient walkways consisted of large stones that had cut-outs so that wagons could pass….not wheelchair accessible!
If you book an accessible tour of Pompeii, your tour guide can bring you to a nearby accessible restaurant for lunch….
…and you’ll avoid being overcharged by the touristy restaurants shown below!
Getting to Pompeii with a Disability
The easiest way to get to Pompeii with a disability is by booking an accessible driving tour of Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast. Another option is to take the Circumvesius train from Naples or Sorrento. There is a step onto the train (shown in the photos below).
The door to the train seats is too narrow for wheelchairs. Wheelchair users will need to stay near the door.
The biggest problem with Pompeii disabled access train travel is that it will have to be re-routed at the Pompeii Scavi train station (shown in the photo on the left). If the train is not re-routed, visitors coming from Sorrento and to Naples will have to go down and up many stairs located in the tunnel underneath the train tracks. During the accessible Pompeii tours by train, your tour guide will handle the re-routing request for you. The photo on the right shows the steps at the Pompeii Scavi train ticket office.
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