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Accessible Rome

Mary Murphy-Hanson

Several years ago I became confined to a wheelchair for most of my day. Like most people in wheelchairs I have varying degrees of "ability". While I can climb a few stairs, or walk a short distance, the marathon that is known as touring Rome far exceeds my capabilities. I also couldn't give up my passion for Rome. So I went to Rome in a wheelchair. Conquering Rome in a wheelchair!

Contents

Introduction to Wheelchair Travel: Arriving at Rome airport, using your wheelchair on the streets and sidewalks, public transportation, restaurants, restrooms, day trips.

Vatican City: Touring St. Peter's, Vatican Museums, Vatican Gardens, the Sistine Chapel, Castel Sant'Angelo.

Capitoline Museums: Touring the main museum in Rome. Also includes the nearby Mouth of Truth (Bocca della Verita), Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo) and Theater of Marcellus (Teatro Di Marcello).

Ancient Lives: Touring the many parts of Ancient Rome: Colosseum (Colosseo), Nero's Golden House (Domus Aureus), Roman Forum (Foro Romano), Trajan's Market, Baths of Diocletian, Baths of Caracalla.

Jewish Ghetto and Synagogue: Touring the Jewish Ghetto and visiting the Synagogue.

Other Museums: Palazzo del Quirinale, Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, Palazzo Braschi, Palazzo Altemps.

Borghese Park and Museums: Touring the park, the Borghese Gallery (Galleria Borghese), the Etruscan Museum (Museo de Etruscani) in the Villa Giulia and the Borghese Hot Air Balloon ride.

"Walking" Tour from Piazza Navona to the Spanish Steps: An accessible tour from Piazza Navona to the Spanish Steps, stopping at the Pantheon, Santa Maria Sopra Minerva and the Trevi Fountain.

To Market, To Market: Campo dei Fiori, Trastevere market, Piazza Vittorio market.

Tiber River Boats: The Tiber River Boats are not accessible to the wheelchair traveler.

Resources: Resources for wheelchair travelers and Rome.

Slow Travel Photos - Accessible Rome: Photo essay to go with these pages.

Mary at the Vatican, in front of St. Peters

Mary at the Vatican, in front of St. Peters

How to Use this "Accessible Rome" Guide

Disclaimer: All directions are not the ten commandments written in stone. While I try to provide the most current information on access to attractions, the physical reality changes day to day. While researching this article, one day I went to the Capitoline Museums and ten days later on a return visit I found that the access door I was familiar with had been blocked due to road construction.

Please feel free post on the Slow Travel message board with any different or newer information you may have, or any questions.

To me there is nothing more boring than a "go here, do that guide". But if all you want is "just the facts, Jack", that information is on the main pages. My personal stories, to further explain what you might encounter at each site, are on a separate page, but are linked to from the relevant pages.

How to Use the Maps

Maps are used with permission from Touring Club Italiano (TCI). They make the best driving and city maps for Italy. Maps were formatted in Photoshop to remove their color and add accessible information.

Where a sidewalk or a zona pedonale (pedestrian zone) exists I have marked them on the maps with a solid yellow line. Sidewalks are side of the street specific. Therefore if I have marked on a particular street in yellow showing that you must travel on the right hand side, that is because the left hand side is not as easily accessed. If the yellow line is in the middle of the street it means it is a zona pedonale.

I have marked with a red solid line where it is safe (all things being relative) and necessary to travel in the street.  Where you need to exercise extreme caution AND you are traveling in the street I have indicated that fact with an dotted red line.

Accessible Restrooms

Where I found an accessible bathroom at tourist sites, I have mentioned it on the detail pages. Unless otherwise stated the bathroom would be one of the steel toilet types described on the Introduction page.


Mary Hanson is a wheelchair traveler with four months experience navigating Rome in a wheelchair. When she isn't visiting her heart in Rome, she resides in Phoenix with her husband Tom and her mutt Beau-dog.

© Mary Murphy-Hanson, 2005

Touring Club Italiano (TCI) maps used with permission, © Touring Club Italiano, Milano

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