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A place where old stands next to new, Rome, or the Eternal City, is the largest city in Italy and a haven for history lovers. Situated in the Lazio region on the banks of the River Tiber, Rome enjoys a Mediterranean climate and boasts an impressive number of ancient monuments and ruins. Access can be tricky in places and the roads a little daunting to cross, but good public transport systems and a growing awareness of accessibility around the city makes getting around easier. Read on to find out all the activities available to have an accessible holiday in Rome! Don’t forget to ensure your return to Rome with a coin in the city’s famous Trevi Fountain!
Where to stay with good access
Barcelo Aran Mantegna is a large modern hotel in the south of Rome. It was reviewed by one visitor who described it: “ Excellent access throughout. Four spacious lifts to all floors.” and said that “There were eight of us staying at this hotel (four wheelchair users, four PAs) and the hotel was extremely suitable - highly recommended!”
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Places to eat
Italy is famous for its food, and Rome is no exception. Osterias and pizzerias line the narrow streets and wide open squares of the city, all but a few offering outdoor seating with fans dusting cool water over diners. You may find that you seldom go inside any of these restaurants, as table service on the street is so good at Roman eateries. Try Campo de’ Fiori or Piazza Navona, two squares packed full of Italian restaurants. For hidden gems, venture over to Trastevere or out to Pigneto for greater diversity.
But wait, a trip to Rome would not complete without trying some world famous gelato! Everyone will name somewhere different as the best gelato shop in the city, but it’s worth checking out Fatamorgana in Trastevere for unusual flavours. You could try peaches and wine, pineapple and ginger, or even carrot cake flavoured gelato! One reviewer gave this shop 4 ★ saying, “the doors are permanently propped open” and that “ the flavour labels are all at the front and easy to read.”
Why not try some authentic stone baked pizza by visiting Osteria Margherita. This family friendly popular restaurant set in lovely grounds with varied menu in both Italian and English. One reviewer said “staff did their best to make our evening enjoyable... Most had good English and helped with seats etc”.
If you’d rather cook something yourself, Rome is bursting with fresh ingredients from the Lazio countryside! Explore one of the many markets around the city, such as the stalls at Campo De’ Fiori (market by day, restaurants by night), or the vegetable market in Pigneto. Campo De’ Fiori is located in more of a pedestrianised area but there are busses on the main road just a short walk from the square. One visitor stated, “Apart from the cobblestones, access is generally quite good. The stalls have a decent amount of space between them and the produce is all at a good height for browsing.”
The Pigneto market has been rated 4★ by one visitor who said “‘the best part is, there’s barely a cobblestone in sight!”’. Look out for the colourful wall murals around this neighbourhood which can be accessed by “Pigneto's fantastically accessible modern station to a connecting station closer to town. Alternatively, there are numerous bus stops and tram stops around the area.”
Also worth checking out is Eataly, the world’s largest Italian food store in Ostiense. One reviewer wrote, “wide aisles, smooth floors, good signage and large lifts are what makes this food store accessible!”
Many of our reviewers have wrote about how accessible they have found the buses to be in Rome. Another has told us about the efficient Metro, and the anticipation of the new Line C which will have wheelchair access to every station on the line. Public transport is important in this cobbled and ancient city, so it is worth getting a hang of it early on in your trip! Read reviews of Rome’s transport hubs.
Rome’s most iconic landmark, The Colosseum has been rated highly by Euan’s Guide reviewers! One reviewer wrote, “As with all the venues we visited in Rome there were no queues for disabled visitors and entry was free for both myself and my friend. There is a lift to the upper floors and the route was well signposted. The Colosseum was magnificent and well worth a visit.” With the Colosseum being such a iconic landmark, its great to see free access for disabled visitors! Another visitor said “The first thing I saw as I walked inside was signage for an accessible route, as well as for lifts, accessible toilets, and audio and video guides. On the upper level, the floor was smooth all the way round, and the path was very wide. You get an excellent view over the entire Colosseum.”
A stone’s throw from The Colosseum is the Roman Forum, a fascinating landscape of ruins from the time of the Roman Empire. The site has varying levels of accessibility, and one reviewer wrote, “‘the Forum is quite hilly and can be steep in places, but they have signs with colour (and shape) coded paths to differentiate between difficult and easy routes. There are also features such as platform lifts and stair lifts where access isn’t level.”’
Further north you’ll find the Pantheon, a highly preserved building of Ancient Rome that was built as a temple. One reviewer wrote, “getting to the Pantheon may be a bit tricky for some as the streets around it are cobbled. However, once you are there you’ll find that it is fully accessible.”
Castel Sant'Angelo is a fortress sitting by the River Tiber. One reviewer wrote that while the castle was not completely accessible there was “wide sturdy ramps in place around much of the building which were great for accessing viewpoints. There were also multiple staff lifts which allow step-free access to different areas.”
Step-free vantage point
Many of the best places to view the Roman rooftops are at the top of a flight of old stairs, but Parco Del Gianicolo is a large green space in the city that offers a dusty red and leafy green panorama of Rome, without the uneven steps to negotiate. One visitor wrote “‘it’s a nice place to see views of the city without having to climb stairs to the top on an old monument.”’ This reviewer also wrote that visitors should be aware that some parts of the climb may involve walking on small stretches of quiet road.
A feature unique to Rome is the existence of a different country within the city borders. The Vatican City is a major Christian pilgrimage site, and has been since the Middle Ages. Visitor numbers soar around Easter as Vatican pilgrims come to the seat of the papacy. One reviewer wrote about The Vatican saying “‘there is a lift up to The Basilica and a ramp into it.”’ Be aware that a dress code is in place for many of the religious buildings in Rome and the Vatican City.
Ciampino Airport is one of Rome’s two major airports and is located in the south of the city. It’s a small airport in size, but one reviewer has praised its accessibility saying, “‘there is a ramp leading into the airport where you are met with Braille directions and automatic doors. There was an electronic accessibility information podium to give you directions, disabled access information and useful tips.”’
Have you been to Rome?
One reviewer had this to say on the iconic city: “Rome is an old city so there are clearly some places that have not been adapted, but we had no issues at all and have been back three times!”
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Last updated – August 2020