ROME – HILLY BUT WHEELCHAIR-FRIENDLY CITY
ROME – HILLY BUT WHEELCHAIR-FRIENDLY CITY
Dear friends! You’ve probably heard a lot about the notorious for wheelers hills and cobblestones of Rome and think it’s quite a hostile environment in terms of accessibility. And I’d like to dispel your fears and show how well-adapted this city really is.
The main sights included:
The Arch of Constantine
The Roman Forum
The Trevi Fountain
The Vatican Museum with its famous Sistine Chapel and “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci
The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere.
!!! BE AWARE, the Sistine Chapel is closed on Sundays !
!!! DON’T MISS the Pope of Rome leading mess every Sunday morning in St.Peter's Basilica. So you can watch Him on the monitors installed in St.Peter's Square. At that time the Basilica is closed for visitors though !
If you’re short of time, you can combine any of 2 days, especially if you take a bus to the Vatican City, rather than ride or roll all the way.
But let’s start with the HOTEL first. I stayed at Hotel Genova 4* a fully accessible hotel in Roma. There is a step-free entrance (marked “W” on the picture below) just next to the main entrance (marked “M” on the picture below). The door is locked there, and once you’re outside, you just need to wave at a receptionist to get it unlocked for you.
There is a spacious lift and a room with a spacious bathroom with shower chair and accessible toilet bowl (just like those in the pictures below) in the hotel. Also, there is an emergency button in the bathroom in case of falling etc. The hotel offers a rich breakfast buffet. All the staff, including waiters, is very helpful. The location is very convenient: it is within walking distance from nearly all the sights. I used a mobility scooter though.
So, first of all, I (with my daughter on my knees) rolled from our hotel to THE COLOSSEUM and got here, with the Colosseum several meters down:
To avoid steps as you get down to the Colosseum, you just need to go along the Nicola Salvini Street so that the Colosseum was on your right and then take the first right turn.
The wheelchair accessible entrance is in the “line for groups”, there were nearly no people in that line! As we got inside, a security staff member took free tickets for me and my daughter at the ticket office and gave them to us (these tickets are valid both for the Colosseum and the Roman Forum). With these tickets we got to the ground floor of the Colosseum. Only a part of the floor is stair-free. But this was more than enough for us to enjoy the view!
Then, we used the lift to get to the upper floor of the Colosseum. There you can see better panoramic views. Also, you can see the top of the Arch of Constantine very close. It was a fantastic experience!
Seagulls were “specially invited models” on the upper floor)))))
When we went out of the Colosseum, we turned left, crossed the road, and went along the fence of THE ROMAN FORUM (which was on our LEFT) to the accessible lift at the main entrance to get down to the Forum.
Thanks to ramps, everything is accessible down there, just with some small areas covered with stones, quite doable for wheelers though.
Just in 5min. scooter ride from the lift of the Roman Forum there is a beautiful PIAZZA (SQUARE) VENEZIA – the central hub of Rome, in which several thoroughfares intersect, including the Via dei Fori Imperiali and the Via del Corso. This square takes its name from the Palazzo Venezia, built by the Venetian Cardinal, Pietro Barbo (later Pope Paul II) alongside the church of Saint Mark, the patron saint of Venice. The Palazzo Venezia served as the embassy of the Republic of Venice in Rome.
PIAZZA NAVONA is a half an hour scooter ride from Genova Hotel. We rode the city to enjoy its atmosphere. You can easily take a bus there though. For example, Bus 64 goes from the Roma Termini bus station (in front of the main entrance of the Roma Termini railway station, See the picture below) to Piazza Navona (as well as to Piazza Venezia and Vatican).
In fact, all the new ATAC buses in Rome are accessible (just look for a wheelchair sign).
There is a curb to get to the center of Piazza Navona. BUT it is very low near the fountain))).
The Piazza is full of street artists and cafes. There are refreshing fountains with beautiful sculptures. And there are WEBCAMS. So I left the link to one of them (here it is https://worldcams.tv/cities/rome-navona-square) to my husband and he could actually see us there from home))))). It was amazing!
THE PANTHEON is just 5-10min ride from Piazza Navona. It is totally even and accessible via the ramp.
TREVI FOUNTAIN is nearly 15-20min ride from the Pantheon. It is extremely crowded. We could hardly take a couple of pictures there. No access to water because of stairs.
This day was devoted to the Vatican and Trastevere area.
First we went to THE VATICAN CITY (Cavalleggeri/San Pietro bus stop) by the accessible Bus 64 from the Termini bus station (in front of the main entrance of the Roma Termini railway station, See the picture above).
The entrance to ST.PETER'S SQUARE is in 5min. ride from Cavalleggeri/San Pietro Bus Stop. Just go in this direction and then go round the corner on your left.
Once we got to the Square, we enjoyed its panoramic view and had some rest at the fountain.
Next we went in this direction to get to THE VATICAN MUSEUM (with THE SISTINE CHAPEL in its end).
The museum is accessible via a ramp and then lift. We got free tickets for me and my daughter to enter it. And that’s what we saw:
On the way from the Museum to the Sistine Chapel we walked along THE BELVEDERE COURTYARD and took a picture of a bronze sculpture “Sphere Within Sphere” by Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro.
THE SISTINE CHAPEL is accessible via a stair lift. Its “LAST SUPPER” by Leonardo da Vinci is amazing.
!!! BE AWARE, THE SISTINE CHAPEL IS CLOSED ON SUNDAYS!!!
There is no direct accessible way from the Sistine Chapel to St.Peter's Basilica. To get to St.Peter's Basilica you need to go back from the Vatican Museum to the column corridor of St.Peter's Square just the same way you went TO it, and then turn right and go to the end of this corridor. There you’ll find a lift to get inside ST.PETER'S BASILICA.
!!! DON’T MISS, THE POPE OF ROME LEADING MESS EVERY SUNDAY MORNING IN ST.PETER'S BASILICA. SO YOU CAN WATCH HIM ON THE MONITORS INSTALLED IN ST.PETER'S SQUARE. AT THAT TIME THE BASILICA IS CLOSED FOR VISITORS THOUGH!!!
The Basilica is more of an art gallery rather than a church, as for me)))
THE BASILICA OF SANTA MARIA IN TRASTEVERE is more of a real traditional church as compared to that of St.Peter according to the numerous reviews. So we headed to it along the bank of the Tiber River. If you ride this way, you’ll ride a comfortable paved road along the river’s bank and cobblestoned streets as you turn right from it:
If you ride this way, you’ll ride cobblestoned streets the most of the way as you leave the paved road along the river’s bank:
The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere turned out to be a really sacred place, with just a couple of tourists and homely atmosphere.
That’s how we spent our three days in Rome. Enjoy)))