Venice on a wheelchair: accessibility in a city with 435 bridges

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    Accessible Venice

    Venice, in Italy, is a city famous worldwide for its beauty, art, architecture, canals and many bridges.

    As you might have already figured out, its hundreds of bridges don’t make Venice the most accessible city in the world.

    While it is not one of the oldest cities in the world, Venice is an ancient city that has changed very little in modern times. Unfortunately, that also means that this city, which Venetians started building 1200 years ago, was not made with accessibility in mind. Venice, today, still carries barriers that date back to ancient times.

    Therefore, it is just natural for people who are on a wheelchair or have a hard time climbing stairs to think that Venice would be the worst possible choice for a vacation.

    But is it?

    Despite its bridges, 70% of Venice is accessible

    It is true that the Venice and Giudecca consist of 121 islands connected to each other by 435 bridges. However, thanks to ramps and public water buses, around 70% of the city is accessible! 

    The following map, created by the Venice Municality, shows the areas in Venice that can be reached thanks to its public transport system. 

    Please note: areas in dark green can be reached with water buses lines 1 and 2, which carry up to 4 wheelchairs at a time; light green, on the other hand, can be reached only by “motoscafi”, smaller water buses that carry only one wheelchair at a time.

    Of course, there is much more you should know to organize your trip to Venice

    Practical Infos and First Hand Experience of the Accessible Venice

    With the help of Nelida B., we’ll share with you some practical information about visiting Venice on a wheelchair.

    Venice has been working very hard for accessibility in various ways for a couple of years now.

    Let me show you that, through the hard work of Governments as well as private entrepreneurs, marvellous ancient cities can be made accessible, too.

    But how can one go from one place to another in Venice, a city made of small islands connected to each other by bridges with lots of steps?

    Moving along the Grand Canal is very easy by vaporetto, public water buses.

    A person with a disability pays the same price as locals instead of paying the tourists’ price (1,50 instead of 7,50). If they travel with somebody, that person does not pay for a ticket. 

    Clearly, both have to travel together.

    Tip: although you might be very strong, it is always convenient to travel at least with one partner. Sure it’s always good to have a helping hand, but most importantly it makes the visit twice the fun!

    The most important Museums in Venice are ALL ACCESSIBLE: Doge’s Palace (except for the Prisons), Museo Correr, Ca’Rezzonico, Accademia Galleries, Gallerie Franchetti, Palazzina Grassi, Punta della Dogana, and the Guggenheim Museum, just to name a few!

    At times, you might have doubts about accessibility since, due to logistics, Museums sometimes provide accessibility “in the backstage”. Signs, therefore, could be hard to spot. But please, don’t be discouraged into thinking that you might have to give up on the Museum you came to visit. That is most likely not the case!

    If you have any doubts, Do Always Ask, and you will be helped!

    Making Museums in Venice accessible was surely not an easy task, as they are located in Venues that were built hundreds of years ago. But they did it

    Finally, most Museums in Venice are free of charge for you and your travel companion, if you present your disability certificate. 

    Now let’s talk about toilets, a key question especially for women. 

    Some bars, restaurants and hotels have accessible toilets. Still, it is not always easy to quickly find one that does when visiting a new neighbourhood.

    However, the Venetian administration kept accessibility in mind when they built public toilets around the city. 

    Public toilets have a fee, but that must not be paid by people with disabilities. You can find them everywhere around the city

    You can ask for maps that show the location of public toilets as well as accessible areas directly at the seat of the Comune di Venezia, the Venice Town Hall.

    Or, you can download them here

    Accessible Areas

    Public Toilets 

    Venice has almost all you have to ask as for accessibility. It benefitted of the teamwork of the public and private sector committing to the same objective: a city without barriers, friendly for all

    Accessibility in Venice hotels

    Of course, accessibility in a city requires more than public transport and Museums.

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    Today, several hotels and their facilities, including restaurants, are accessible and they are growing in number every year. The easiest way to find the right hotel for you is through reputed booking platforms. Make sure, however, to drop an email and ask if the way to their hotel is also accessible from a water bus stop nearby!

    As you know, the secret is to plan, plan and plan!

    Accessible Itineraries in Venice

    To help you in that sense, we have crafted 3 long accessible itineraries that span through 4 districts of Venice: Cannaregio, Castello&San Marco, and Dorsoduro.

    You can read the itinerary below and see the videos we made under each of them!

    Accessible Itinerary in Venice #1:

    The locations seen in our Cannaregio itinerary: San Marcuola, San Leonardo, Guglie Bridge, San Geremia, Lista di Spagna, Train Station, Calle Priuli, Calle della Misericordia and Saffa Area, Campo Saffa, Calle del Camin, Fondamenta Savorgnan, Ponte delle Guglie, Fondamenta di Cannaregio, Sotoportego and Calle del Ghetto Vecchio, Calle del Forno, Fondamenta di Cannaregio, Baia del Re, Fondamenta Sacca San Girolamo, Fondamenta delle Case Nuove, Calle de le Cooperative, and finally back to the Fondamenta di Cannaregio

    Accessible Itinerary in Venice #2:

    The locations seen in our Castello & San Marco itinerary: Giardini, Viale Giuseppe Garibaldi, Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, Ponte de la Veneta, Ponte San Biasio, Ponte de la Ca di Dio, Riva degli Schiavoni, Calle del Dose, Bragora, Ponte del Sepolcro, Ponte de la Pietà, Ponte del Vin, Ponte de la Paglia e dei Sospiti, Palazzo Ducale, Saint Mark’s Square, Basilica, Clock Tower, San Zulian, Piazzetta dei Leoncini, Procuratie, Ramo del Selvadego, Bacino Orseolo, Calle del Selvadego, Ala Napoleonica, Calle Vallaresso, Vallaresso Water Bus Stop

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    Accessible Itinerary in Venice #3:

    The locations seen in our Dorsoduro itinerary: Salute, Grand Canal, Punta della Dogana, Rio Terà dei Catecumeni, Rio Terà dei Saoni, Fondamenta delle Zattere,
    Chiesa di Santa Maria del Rosario, Rio Terà Foscarini, Accademia Bridge, Campo della Carità, Calle Contarini Corfù, Fondamenta Priuli,
    Fondamenta Nani, Ponte Longo, Fondamenta Zattere, Calle del Vento, Fondamenta de San Basegio, Fondamenta
    di San Sebastiano, Fondamenta del Soccorso, Carmini Square and Church, Campo Santa Margherita, Calle del Magazen,
    Ramo Cappello, Calle de la vida, sotoportego de la madonna, calle de la madona, campiello dei squelini, calle del capeler,
    calle del fabro, sotoportego e calle pedrocchi, fondamenta rezzonico

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