Trieste per Tutti, for a barrier-free tourism

In Italy, there’s a city where, walking around its streets, you often feel like being in Austria or in a Middle-European city. This city is Trieste, full of history, art, culture (a name for all, Italo Svevo), sport tradition.  Since a few years, the city is particularly committed to accessibility and chances to make its architectonical and artistic heritage available for everyone. This is confirmed by”Trieste per Tutti” (Trieste for All), the project supported by the city Municipality to promote  a barrier-free tourism, without architectonical or cultural limitations.

The Municipality in Unità d’Italia Square

On “Trieste per Tutti”, you can find useful information for both tourists and citizens with a disability or special needs to plan an “accessibility-proof” visit of the city: from hotels to restaurants, from monuments to public interest locations, etc. The available information is also obtained through the cooperation of users based on their own experience. On the website, you can find details about the accessibility of taxis and public transports, for instance, as well as a selection of accessible hotels and hostels, with details about the available services and the possibility to directly contact the facilities for more specific requests.

Trieste - Castello di Miramare

Miramare Castle

Of course, Trieste per Tutti also includes a section devoted to locations of historical and cultural interest in the city: from the majestic Miramare Castle to the Risiera of San Sabba, not to mention churches, museums and theatres. Each location sheet includes details about architectonical barriers and facilitations available in the buildings and nearby, as well as information about the accessibility of public transports and their nearest stops. Hence, whatever you need to enjoy your stay in the city without any nasty surprise!

Of course, should you have particular needs, you’d better get directly in touch with the locations you wish to visit: maybe you’ll discover additional services that, at the moment, aren’t specified on the website and -why not?- share this information to help other users. Enjoy your stay in Trieste!  🙂

ParmAccessibile: Jessica and Matteo’s challenge

Everyone of us daily faces various architectonical barriers. They can be pointed out and overtaken through everyone’s commitment and cooperation. This is the starting point of “ParmAccessibile: itinerari accessibili di Parma e dintorni” (“Accessible Parma: accessible itineraries in Parma and its surroundings“), the fundraising launched by Jessica Borsi and Matteo Salini, two young from Parma with a motoric disability, in cooperation with ANMIC (the National Association for Amputees and Legally Disabled People), with the goal to make an “accessible” guide of Parma and its surroundings, mainly for people with motoric disabilities.

ParmAccessibile

Matteo and Jessica

The two guys had previously created parmaccessibile.org, a web portal that’s become a reference point for who’s looking for accessible tourism solutions in Parma and its surroundings. Now, it’s time for the next big step: in view of 2020, when Parma will be the Italian Capital City for Culture, Jessica and Matteo want to make sure that as many citizens and tourists as possible can access the many initiatives that will take place. From here, the idea of “ParmAccessibile”, a paper and digital guide,  that will be distributed for free both to tourists with a disability and to elderly and families with little children, and whoever, for any reason, needs to pay a bigger attention to accessibility. In particular, will be mapped paths in the monumental Parma, including the most touristically interesting sites, for instance: the Cathedral, S. Giovanni, piazza Garibaldi, piazzale della Pace, Teatro Regio, or in the surroundings of Parma, for accessible tours immersed into nature.

how to fund “parmaccessibile”?

But such an ambitious project costs. So, to fund it, Jessica and Matteo have chosen the crowdfunding. ‘Til the end of June 2018, signing up to the Becrowdy platform, everyone of us will have the chance to chip in to make this useful project come true. All the contributors will receive a little reward, based to the amount of their contributions. Even businesses, in view of a 500 € contribution, will see their logo in the Sponsors section of the guide.

Would you like to have more info? On the Becrowdy page devoted to ParmAccessibile, you can also find details about how the collected funds will be splitted.

Contributing is worthwhile, isn’t it?

“Interno Verde”: Ferrara gardens open to everyone!

Spring is, par excellence, the season of “rebirth”. After the long winter rest, nature reawakens, flowers blow, the naked trees cover with leaves… Would you like to enjoy this evocative show discovering the secret gardens guarded by the  old town of Ferrara, furthermore without worrying about accessibility?  If your answer is “yes”, “Interno Verde” is the event for you!

Interno Verde - garden

Thanks to this event, organized by Il Turco association, on May 12th and 13th  more than 60 secret gardens of Ferrara will be open to the public, who will have the chance to enjoy those secret islands, rich in suggestions and memories, through which you can read the story, the changes and the events lived by the city.

Interno Verde - garden

The “Interno Verde” festival, that this year reaches its third edition, pays a lot of attention to the needs of visitors with motoric limitations. On the map delivered to who registers to the event, a symbol placed next to every address will specify the accessibility degree for people with motoric issues, specifying if the location is fully accessible autonomously or you’ll need a companion to help you.  However, the event staff will always be at the attendees disposal to ease their entry and visit.  Furthermore, the detailed report of the spaces involved in the 2018 edition is almost completed: it will include pictures and descriptions of the festival locations, plus the nearest parking lots. Don’t you use the car and, for you, public transport is tricky? You can count on the “Muoversi” and “Giuseppina” services, provided by the Municipality of Ferrara and addressed to people with a disability aged between 18 and 65 and over-75 elderly people, respectively. For more information about how to use them and their costs, you can refer to this page.

Interno Verde - garden

how to register to “interno verde”?

You can register to “Interno Verde” going to the “Il Turco” association offices or at the festival infopoint or at another of the points distributed all over the city (their complete list is available here).  If you live outside Ferrara, you can register online, on the festival website.  All the registered people will receive a kit including: the bracelet that works also as entry pass, the map of the open gardens and the book with historycal, architectonical and botanical info about the gardens, plus unpublished photos, illustrations, ancient maps and more.

Interno Verde - garden

how much does it cost registering to “interno verde”?

The amount requested to register to “Interno Verde” is 10 € per person (the cost is slightly higher for online registrations, based on the amount of reserved entries), 5 € for disabled people, while their companions and children up to 13 benefit from free entry. Groups of at least 25 people can benefit a reduced cost entry at 8 € per person, that can be reserved sending an e-mail to info@internoverde.it.

Discovering Seville, between fascination and accessibility

Maybe you’ve grasped my love for Spain and for the Iberian Peninsula in general. Since I haven’t talked about it recently, this time, as a destination for our virtual tour all around the accessible Europe, I suggest you a fascinating and certainly accessible city, also for people with a reduced mobility: Seville, the capital city of Andalusia, that’s often used as a set for movies and tv series (for instance, “Star Wars” and “Game of Thrones“). Furthermore, this is one of the best periods of the year to enjoy it, since, from April 14th to April 21st, the city will live up for the Feria de Abril, with music, dance, delicacy and a lot of fun!

Seville - flamenco dancer

The flamenco, the typical dance of Andalucia

Seville, located on the slopes of Sierra Morena and crossed by the Guadalquivir river, has an almost totally flat structure, that makes it certainly accessibile, particularly to peoplw rith motoric disabilities, even in the event that they move on a wheelchair. In these years, furthermore, the local administration invested a lot (as in the whole Spain) to make the city increasingly accessible for everyone. A tangible clue of this commitment is the fact that the whole subway network is fully accessible, both in terms of trains and stations, as every station is equipped with lifts, which make accessing the platforms easier.

Seville - Plaza de España

Plaza de España

Wandering around Seville, you can admire the signs of the many dominations that marked Andalucia and the city. In particular, the Cathedral (with its famous tower called “La Giralda”),  the Alcázar  and the Archivo de Indias were registered by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites… and can be quite easily visited also by who has a reduced mobility! The Cathedral is the largest Gothic one in the world and rises up where, during the Arab domination, there was the mosque. There aren’t particular issues to access the Giralda too, since there are no steps… but you need to walk quite a lot!

Seville - Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See

The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See

The Alcázar is the city royal palace and, initially, it was a Moorish fort risen up in the X century by the Caliph of Andalusia. The current structure building started four centuries later, mixing Moorish, Gothic, Baroque elements and more. It is accessible even using a wheelchair, apart from a few steps here and there, and you can also access the second floor using a lift.

Seville - The Alcázar

The Alcázar

But also shops, public places, restaurants, cafés are accessible in Seville. Would you like to know more about them? You can refer to this guide, available both in Spanish and English.

Enjoy your trip and, should you’ve already been there, please share your experience in the comments!

AT Campania: the portal of accessible tourism in Campania

AT Campania logoWe’ve underlined many times how important it is, for the inclusion of people with a disability, increasing the availability of solutions ensuring an accessible tourism. This is the purpose of the AT Campania web portal as well, that’s been presented in these days in Naples by the local Rotary Club, together with Unione Italiana Ciechi (Italian Blind People Union). 

The goal of the AT Campania portal is to collect the accessible tourism solutions already active in the region and contributing, together with some collateral initiatives (seminars, conventions, events about accessible tourism) to boost the awareness of who works in this industry and of the entire community towards the need to create a world that can actually be suitable for all, regardless of any disability.

Napoli - Naples

Naples

The AT Campania portal doesn’t just collect the info about accessibility of tourism structures and services active in the region  (museums, restaurants, monuments, etc.), but also enables the users, through a free registration, to leave public reviews about the listed structures, so that they can share their direct experience with the other visitors of the website.

Amalfi

Amalfi

So, the accomodations will have the chance to let their accessible tourism offer be known by a wider audience, including also that share of tourists who are, too often, still ignored by the market, due to the persistence of bias and architectonical and cultural barriers.

Sorrento - Villa Cimbrone

Sorrento, Villa Cimbrone

There are plenty of reasons to visit Campania: the cultural, archaeological and environmental heritage of this region is very wide and able to satisfy everyone’s needs and tastes. Having the chance to enjoy it without worries about accessibility is essential, indees, to live a peaceful holiday.

Vesuvio - Vesuvius

Vesuvius

AT Campania has just started, but there are all the premises to make it grow and become a reference point for the tourism in Campania, starting from the dedication of its promoters. Let’s create our account on the website and share our experience: a more accessible world for everyone is possible, if every one of us does his own part! 

Brussels walking towards full accessibility

Are you looking for a destination where to spend a short holiday during the upcoming Christmas holidays? In addition to those we’ve talked about earlier, today I suggest you a city rich in history, which is very suggestive in this time of the year: Brussels. The capital city of Belgium, which also hosts many offices of the European Union, is the perfect destination if you love history, arts (a name for all: Magritte) and, of course, chocolate!

Brussels - chocolaterie

A typical chocolaterie in Brussels

The “capital city of Europe”, since a long time, has been very committed towards accessibility, aiming to become fully usable for everyone, regardless of any motoric or sensory limitation. Sure, a proverbial touch of magic wand to adequate the numerous historical buildings in Brussels to everyone’s needs; but there’s no doubt that the city has moved well forward towards this goal.

Brussels

A view of the city

The STIB, the company that manages public transport in Brussels, is still committed to increase the accessibility level of subways and buses, as well as the stations and stops. Nowadays, many subway stations are equipped with elevators and all of them offer a 24/7 assistance service, to help travellers with physical or sensory limitations safely access the vehicles. You can request the service by phone or using the online form available on the STIB website. City buses, today, are all equipped with lowered platforms to ease the passengers hop-on and off as well. Moreover, the company has developed a signage system (called “AccessiBus”) to mark the accessible stops. For those who prefer moving by cabs, most of the vehicles circulating in Brussels are equipped to host wheelchairs too.

Brussels - Grand Place

The Grand Place

And what about monuments, museums and the other touristic attractions in Brussels? To check the accessibility of the place you’re interested in, you have at your disposal both a constantly updated portal (available in French, English and Dutch) and an app, which can be downloaded for free on your smartphone, available in various languages, including English, French, Portuguese and Dutch.  

Brussels - Manneken Pis

The Manneken Pis, one of the symbols of Brussels

So, you just have to plan your journey and leave! Have you been in Brussels, recently? What do you think about it, as regards accessibility? Share your experience in the comments!

 

Accessible tourisms: a prize for who helps them be known

We often talk about accessible tourisms, a trend which is (luckily) increasingly establishing, witnessing a higher awareness towards everyone’s licit need and will to travel, discovering new countries and different cultures. By the way, several initiatives (even in Italy) demonstrate that paying attention to the tourists with “special needs” isn’t just a generous act, but also a forward-looking and profitable strategy: as a matter of fact, taking into account that, limiting our talk to people with any disability, we’re talking about a quarter of the world population, not thinking about ways to adequately welcome them too means renouncing to a not exactly unimportant market share.

accessible tourisms

But, there’s often an issue on the table: transmitting correctly the message about the importance of accessible tourisms and help all the existing services, structures and initiatives be known through mass media. From this need arises an initiative promoted by the non-profit organization Diritti Diretti: the Premio Turismi Accessibili (Accessible Tourisms Prize), precisely aiming to award journalists, advertisers and communications specialists who succeed in “overtaking the barriers”,  describing though radio-TV services, advertising campaigns, videos or communications campaigns entities which succeeded producing social and economic development, combining attractiveness, innovation, appearance and/or sustainability and accessibility culture.

Premio Turismi Accessibili - Accessible Tourisms Award

The Accessible Tourisms Prize, which has reached its third edition, is addressed to the existing accessibility, in the various categories of tourism: culture, food & wine, sports, conventions, sea, mountains, thermal baths, education, religion. The goal is to demonstrate, through concrete examples, to entrepreneurs and institutions that serious investments in accessibility can improve a territory and its touristic and cultural offer, resulting in an advantage both for tourists and residents and- what’s not a secondary issue- with important economic effects for the enterprises operating to this end.

how to participate in the accessible tourisms prize?

To participate, you must register, filling, by May 5th 2018, the form that’s available on the Accessible Tourisms Prize website. Among all the participants, two winners will be selected: the project which will receive more votes by the users will gain 1000 €, while the project selected by the experts’ panel will receive a plaque. For more details about the contest, please check its announcement.

PS. Move@bility runs for the award as well, with its article about “B&B Like Your Home“. You can vote for it following this link 

Milanopertutti, to discover the accessible Milan

Presented a few days ago, Milanopertutti is live starting from today. This new web portal is part of a project promoted by Milan Municipality, companioning with various Lombard associations promoting the disabled people needs, with the goal to provide tourists with a disability or specific needs with useful info to enjoy their stay in the city.

Milanopertutti - Duomo

The site is very easy to navigate, since it’s been designed complying with all the accessibility standards. There you can find info about accessibility of museums, monuments and churches having an historic and artistic value, in addition to data and links about the accessibility of the urban public transport, the most important railway stations and airports of the city, as well as tips about accessible itineraries and events, to satisfy every kind of tourist’ needs.

The portal pays a lot of attention to the deaf people needs: they can benefit from a video in LIS presenting the project and a dedicated section, with useful contacts and apps to enjoy the city without too many worries.

Milanopertutti - Castello Sforzesco

Milanopertutti represents another step forward in the commitment of the city to actually became “for all”, that led the city to receive the “City Access Award 2016”, appointed by the European Union to the city that stand out for their commitment to improve their accessibility.

So, is everything fine? Not exactly. There’s still a lot of road to walk, so that the city effectively becomes “for all”, both for tourists and people who live here or come daily for business or study reasons and still face too many architectonical and cultural barriers, which are hard to dismantle: services that aren’t widespread yet (for instance, elevators in the subway stations or ramps and lowered platforms on buses and trams) and that, often, even where they are, suffer from an insufficient maintenance (both in terms of functionality and, simply, of cleaning and decency), offices, shops and meeting and leisure places struggling to become really accessible to everyone, etc.

Milanopertutti - tram

We often think that, so that a city (not just Milan) can really be “accessible”, you simply have to put ramps and elevators here and there (and that’s important, indeed!). But we all might learn to look at the spaces with the users’ eyes, considering that not all the disabled people use wheelchairs. So, for instance, the ramp, that’s fundamental for people using a wheelchair (of course, if it’s designed correctly), for those who walk on their own legs, but need to use crutches (or other similar aids) can represent an even more insuperable obstacle, compared with a simple step.

Milanopertutti has just started its journey, so, for the moment, I just welcome this new tool. But I cannot avoid wishing that, over the years (hopefully, not centuries) it could grow and answer the autonomous mobility needs of all the disabled people, and not just them. Since we can’t forget this: a city (and, broadening our focus with a little bit of ambition, a world) fitting for all isn’t just good for a limited part of the community (disabled and elderly people, children), but represents an advantage for the whole community.

Warsaw: between past and future, towards accessibility

Warsaw, once also known as the “Paris of North” for its wide tree-lined avenues and its architecture in classical style, is the European capital of the moment, above all for young university students who often choose it as their Erasmus destination. Literally reborn from its own ashes after having been almost completely destroyed during the World War II, the capital city of Poland attracts tourists not only due to the fascination of its majestic buildings, but also thanks to skyscrapers and modern buildings which are redesigning its skyline.

Warsaw skyline

Warsaw skyline

Warsaw, as many other cities of the Eastern Europe, pays increasingly attention to the needs of people with motoric and sensory disabilities and, to meet those needs, in these last years, has intensified its commitment towards accessibility.  The city structure, mostly flat, helps who has mobility issues. Furthermore, public transport, perfect to move and visit the city, has vehicles equipped with lowered platforms and ramps to ease the hop-on, but also with supports and indications in colour contrast for visually impaired people; an increasing number of vehicles uses special displays and registered voices to announce stops. Subway stations are also equipped with elevators and ramps to ease access to platforms. If you prefer moving by train, you can benefit from the assistance service provided by the transport company, PKP SA,  provided that you request it at least 48 hours before your departure, by phone (calling the PKP Intercity call center at 19 757 or +48 22 3919757 from abroad, or filling the appropriate online request form).

Warsaw - The Royal Castle

The Royal Castle

Unfortunately, sidewalks and crosswalks in Warsaw aren’t fully accessible yet (but works to adequate them are in progress), while there an increasing number of buildings, also those that are interesting under a touristic or cultural perspective, equipped with access ramps and other expedients to improve their accessibility. For instance, the Royal Castle, whose original nucleus dates back to the XV century and has been destroyed and built again many times, is equipped to allow access both to motoric disabled and sensory disabled people. The same is valid for several museums, churches and monuments. If you want to check the accessibility of those you’re interested in, you can visit this website  or Turystyka dla Wszystkich (“Tourism for all”, also available in English), which collects info about the accessibility of monuments, restaurants, hotels and public interest places all over Poland. Are you ready to leave?

 

 

Barrier-free Apulia: one region, a lot of itineraries

Contrary to what we usually think, attention to everyone’s needs and, in particular, to accessible tourism is wide spreading in Italy too. We’ve already seen some examples, from North to South, including the islands. Today, our “virtual tour” stops in Apulia, “Italy’s heel”. A region rich in history, art, postcards landscapes, culture and – not a bad thing, indeed- culinary tradition. Hence, everything you could wish for your holiday!

Apulia - Lecce

Lecce

The official web portal or the Apulia Region tourism has a section fully reserved to accessible tourism, where you can find info about how to move, where to sleep, where to eat, events and monuments that are accessible to everyone (including our pets!). Furthermore, there are also some “for all” itineraries, to discover and enjoy the treasures of this region without worrying about accessibility.

Apulia - Torre dell'Orso

Torre dell’Orso

Bari, the Apulia county seat, has made accessible to people with motoric disabilities not just its airport and railway station, but also important monuments such as the St. Nicola’ Basilica, the St. Sabino’ Cathedral, the Swabian Castle and the Province Gallery. Also, the old town centre (“Bari vecchia”) presents a path that’s accessible to people with motoric disabilities. But they thought about visually impaired people needs too, with a “light path” enabling them to safely enjoy the city centre.

Apulia - Salento

Salento, the sea stacks

When you say “Apulia”, you immediately think about Baroque and, first of all, Lecce. This wonderful city is always more accessible as well, thanks to an itinerary including monuments with artistic value such as Porta Napoli, the Cathedral, the Carmine church, St. Oronzo’s square (which is only partially accessible), the Theatines’ monastery (accessible with assistance) and Carlo V Castle. Going outside the city, you can enjoy the beauty of the Rauccio’ park, the Cesine’ oasis and beaches equipped to guarantee accessibility to everyone. You can also find accessible itineraries for Otranto, Gallipoli, Ostuni and many more “pearls” of this magnificent region.

Apulia - Otranto

Otranto

Are you ready to leave, to visit it for the first time or to get back there? Share your experience here: it could be useful for other travellers!