Architectonical and cultural barriers: no more!

The biggest obstacle to the effective inclusion of everyone, despite their specific condition, is the existence of barriers, both architectonical and cultural, that, in spite of the undeniable and numerous progresses made throughout the years, still heavily weigh on many people lives.

Whoever has had, even temporarily, to deal with a physical or sensory disability, but also elderly people and parents with little children know how often, during the day, it happens to bum pinto obstacles while walking around: lack of ramps (or unsuitable ones); vehicles left in front of the existing ramps; staircases or single steps without a handrail; shops, meeting points or (that’s worse) public services without an accessible entrance; elevators (if any) always out of order or dirty and smelly; public transports that are accessible only in theory, and so on. The list of architectonical barriers is, virtually, unlimited.


Yet, law speaks clearly, starting from the Italian Republic Constitution, whose art. 3 states:

It is responsibility of the Republic to remove the economic and social obstacles that, limiting freedom and equality among citizens, block the people full development and the effective participation of all the workers in the political, economic and social organization of the Country

Throughout the years, many other measures have ratified the need and the duty, both for public authorities and private businesses, to do all they can to remove architectonical barriers.

The 13/89 Law regulates also the architectonical barriers removal in private buildings, foreseeing facilitations and contributions to improve their accessibility, when they host people with permanent disablements or functional limits.  The Irpef rate deduction for such activities is equal to:

  • 50%, to be calculated on a maximum amount of 96,000 euros, if the cost has been paid between June 26th 2012 and December 31st 2016;
  • 36%, to be calculated on a maximum amount of 48,000 euros, for costs paid starting from January 1st 2017.

The activities that can benefit from deductions include, for instance: an outdoor elevator (in a building where it would be impossible to have one indoor), stairlifts or ramps to access the building or the apartment where the interested person lives.

But there’s still a long way to go, in order to reach the effective and full accessibility in our cities, and there are a lot of barriers to be removed as well, first of all cultural ones.

In these days, social media are giving a big echo to the news of the TripAdivisor user who issued a negative review for a resort in the Abruzzi, just because it had hosted a group of disabled people who, according to the user, had “disturbed” the serenity of the holiday, both for him and his children.

This is just an example of ordinary intolerance towards who, for whatever reason, is “different”. Only if we go beyond those cultural barriers and recognize the need to get to know with anybody else (including people with serious disabilities) for the development of our society, it will be possible to effectively overthrow the physical obstacles and achieve the full accessibility.

Lisbon, surprisingly accessible

If Barcelona is my favourite city in the world, Lisbon, the Portuguese capital city,  follows it closely. I visited it a few years ago and I was totally enchanted by its magic and its breath-taking landscapes, as well as by the friendliness of local people.

Sure, when you think about Lisbon, with its tight and steep streets, with cobblestones and, often, without any sidewalk, the last thing you’d link to it is the concept of accessibility for who has motoric issues due to disability, age or anything else.

Yet, in these last years, also Portugal committed a lot to make this and other cities accessible to tourists and, first of all, citizens. Of course, there’s no way to change orography, but they’re acting where they can, starting from the public transport network. In addition to surface transit (including the unmissable tram no. 28) equipped with a platform to ease the access of people with motoric issues, Lisbon has one of the most accessible subway networks in Europe (luckily, since to go from the entrance to the platforms you’d often have to walk various flights of stairs…).

“To me, there are no flowers that can match the Lisbon chromatism under the sun” 

Fernando Pessoa

As regards monuments and attractions, indeed, if you must use a wheelchair, it could be tricky visiting the typical Alfama district, but Lisbon offers so much more to see!

  • São Jorge’s Castle, not that accessible for people with motoric issues, has ad hoc itineraries (and various resting areas to catch your breath), as well as the chance to access with guide-dogs for blind people.
  • Things go better in another “must see” for whoever visits Lisbon: the Belém district, fully flat and well paved, with the suggestive Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, where the church and the lower part of the cloister are fully accessible and there’s a tactile path for blind people. And, since you’re there, don’t miss the Confeiteria de Belém, to taste one of the symbols of the (excellent!) Portuguese patisserie: pastéis de nata (literally: “cream patisserie”)!
  • Another totally accessible part of the city is the area that hosted the Expo back in 1998. On the occasion of the global expo, the Parque das Nações district was built, reclaiming an ancient landfill on the Tagus. Here you can also get lost among gardens, museums (all of them are 100% accessible) and visit the Oceanário, the largest aquarium in Europe.
  • Also the main part of the city center can be visited without many issues: from Campo de Ourique, with its liberty architectures, to the congested Praça Marquês de Pombal, to reach Avenida Libertade and Parco Eduardo VII.
  • Do you want to take breath-taking pictures of the city panorama? Go to the Miradouro da Graça, fully accessible 24/7.
  • But you can’t leave Lisbon without doing at least two other things: a flying visit to the House of Fernando Pessoa, the poet and writer symbolizing Portugal, who also wrote one of the most beautiful city guides, and a night listening to fado, the Portuguese people sing which had in Amália Rodrigues its most famous interpreter. You can enjoy it “live” in many city places and restaurants.

Do you want to visit this wonderful city? Keep a check on the Portugal Acessível website by Associação Salvador, a “directory” of accessible places all over Portugal, constantly updated also through the users contribution. And beware of saudade!

Lisbon - Belem

Lisbon, Belém

Dance, dance, dance: discovering the danceability


Can you dance, with a motoric disability? Instinctively, you’d answer no. But, lucklily, reality is different.

In 1987, two US choreographers, Alito Alessi and Karen Nelson, created the danceability, a dance method based on the principle that everyone, including disabled people, has the possibility and the right to express his own artistic verve also through the dance.

About 30 years later, the method developed by the two choreographers has come a long way. Today, Alessi is the promoter of DanceAbility® International, an organization aiming to promote the method, and the philosophy it’s based on, all around the world (including Italy!), through workshop, courses and performances.


But who’s danceability for? Just disabled (motoric, psychic or sensory)? No, quite the contrary! During the classes, continuous interaction among disabled and “able-bodied” is encouraged, in the free expression enabled by dance. There are no schemes, nor right or wrong steps, or strict rules: it’s up to everyone’s creativity and fantasy to invent the choreography inspired by music, based on his own skills and capabilities.

Furthermore, this method is particularly useful also to those working directly with disabled people, since it enables them learning effective methods to hook up more directly and effectively with them.

Not to mention the fact that, since it doesn’t “ghettoize” disabled people in “dedicated classes”, but mixes them with “able-bodied”, the danceability successes where, many times, good purposes run around: promoting and creating, through the dancing experience, the effective inclusion of disabled people (who are, precisely, people beyond and before their diseases), undermining and, often, destroying prejudices and preconceptions – that are still far too widespread and rooted- surrounding disability.

So, what about launching ourselves on the dance floor?




I wanna drive!

The car (and the possibility to drive it) is among the “stronger” symbols of autonomy and freedom of movement. But is it possible to drive even with a physical disability? The answer is yes, with the appropriate adaptions. Are you thinking about KITT, the “supercar” of the well-known 80s’ TV series? No, there’s no need to go that far!

Waiting for the sale of self-driving cars (hopefully, improved under a safety perspective…), if you want to drive, you still need a driving licence, that, in case of disability, is “special”. How to get it?


  1. First, you need to undergo an examination at the Local Medical Commission, in order to verify you are eligible to drive. Together with the doctors, the Commission includes DVLA engineers and, if needed, other technicians. During the examination, you can also be assisted by a trusted doctor and, of course, you must show the documents about your disability.
  2. If the Commission has expressed a positive opinion and released the eligibility certificate (where are listed also the adaptations your car needs, to be able to drive it), you’ll have 90 days to get the learner’s permit. On the contrary, in case of negative opinion or if you don’t think the advised adaptations are needed, you have a month to file an appeal.
  3. Once you have obtained the eligibility certificate and the learner’s permit, you can get ready for the driving test using a properly adapted car (or a driving simulator). During the test, the DVLA engineer can confirm the advised adaptations (e.g. automatic drive, manual break and accelerator, etc.) or suggesting other.
  4. On your driving license, you’ll find the European codes corresponding to the definite adaptations and your handicap.


The “special driving license”, usually, lasts for 5 years (it can be renewed more frequently, depending on the conditions of the driver), presenting (better in advance) to the Province Medical Commission a medical certificate, on the appropriate form, and a copy of the existing license, booking an appointment for the eligibility examination.

Let’s pass to the economic side of the story. Disabled people (or the relatives they are fiscally dependants of) can buy their cars benefiting from specific fiscal facilitations:

  1. 19% Irpef deduction on the cost of the car
  2. favoured VAT rate at 4% (instead of the ordinary one) for the car and its optional accessories (if any)
  3. exemption from paying the car tax and the transition tax on transfers of property

You can benefit from all of these facilitations for one car at a time and, in particular, you can benefit from the favoured VAT rate only to buy a car every 4 years (provided that the previous car has been demolished and, hence, cancelled from the public automobile register.

Is everything clear? Enjoy your driving!

Accessible fun for everyone!

Merry-go-rounds and roller-coasters are fine, aren’t they? These attractions aren’t appreciated just by children: even those (like us) who are “over 10” love and dream about them! So, why would we have to do without them?

Now, the most important amusement parks, in Italy and abroad, offer a wide range of attractions (that are usually marked with some symbols indicating their level of difficulty and, therefore, accessibility) and services to enable all their visitors fully enjoying the experience: from the littlest children to the adults, including motoric and sensory disabled people.

  • Let’s start from the most famous amusement park in Europe, Disneyland Paris, truly offers a tailor-made fun for everyone and dedicated facilitations on the tickets price you can benefit from simply showing the Priority Card that’s distributed to those who show an invalidity certificate or a medical certification, or the Facility Card, reserved to those who have a temporary disability (for instance, due to an accident) and pregnant women, always provided that they present the medical document certifying that they can use the attractions without risks. For deaf people, for instance, some attractions have a magnetic induction amplifying system. For motoric or visually disabled people and their companions (including helping animals, if needed), some attractions have dedicated accesses. Usually, the park doesn’t provide for particular discounts on the tickets price for disabled visitors, but it’s always advisable to verify any specific initiative calling 02/75419755.
  • Coming back into the Italian borders, Gardaland offers assisted entry cards (for disabled and elderly people and pregnant women, with procedures that are very similar to those applied by Disneyland Paris) and dedicated prices for tickets addressed disabled visitors and their companions: not self-sufficient disabled people have right to a free entry ticket, while their helpers can enter buying a reduced cost ticket; autonomous disabled people, instead, can access the park buying a 33 € ticket (of course, showing all the appropriate documents). Furthermore, Gardaland has also dedicated accesses and services and signage for physical and sensory disabled people, both at the attractions and in the areas reserved to performances, at the restaurants and shops inside the park. Furthermore, this year Gardaland offers a brand new service: Easy Rider, to guide groups including people with a disability inside the park, helping them to choose the most suitable attractions and to plan their day. To fully enjoy the fun, I recommend downloading the guide from the park website, planning in advance your itinerary and arriving in advance, so that you can retire the card and benefit from all the dedicated services. Do you have any particular need? You can directly get in touch with the park using the contacts specified on its website.
  • The service level offered by Mirabilandia is very similar, both in terms of pricing and services. The park in Ravenna pays particular attention to families with children, that can benefit from an ad hoc package, and to “senior” visitors, who have right to a special price ticket. For not self-sufficient disabled people (and for children whose height is below 1 meter), the entrance is free, while their companions can benefit from a reduced price ticket. For more info or specific needs, it’s possible to contact the park management office using the form available online.
  • Similar conditions are offered by Rainbow Magicland as well. The amusement park near Rome has both attractions with different difficulty and accessibility levels and pricing policies dedicated to specific categories of visitors: free entrance for children below 1 meter of height and not self-sufficient disabled people; reduced price entrance, instead, for children until 14 years old, pregnant women, over 65 and autonomous disabled people (in these cases, the ticket must be bought directly at the park ticket office). Furthermore, there are special price packages for groups, schools and families.
  • Finally, Etnaland, the park near Catania, offers free entrance to children below 1 meter of height and dedicated discounts for those below 140 centimetres of height. For people whose disability is higher than 75% and their companions, the entrance ticket costs €15, both for the Themepark and the Aquapark.

Are you ready to launch yourself in one day (or more!) full of fun and adventure?

accessible fun - amusement park

Where do I find a job? The job boards for “protected categories”

We’ve talked about how to enrol in the lists of the “disability hiring quotas” and benefit from the advantages as per the 68/99 law. But, once you’ve enrolled, how to be aware of new job opportunities? In addition to the services offered by the employment centres, there are many specialised job boards issuing job opportunities addressed to the so-called “protected categories”, in addition to general job boards, where you can find job opportunities for all the workers (including “protected categories”).

work for protected categories

  • Categorie Protette al Lavoro (Protected Categories at Work), owned by Andrea Poletti & Associati, collects job opportunities addressed to disabled people. The new release of the website, “live” since a few days, in addition to the sections reserved to businesses and candidates, includes a section about news and law updates about disability hiring quotas.
  • Jobmetoo is an online staffing company, founded and leaded by Daniele Regolo, a deaf man with a long experience in designing solutions to facilitate a satisfying inclusion of disabled people in the world of work. Besides managing directly selections for their own customers, the website collects job opportunities issued by other staffing companies and head hunters. But the real distinguishing feature of the portal is the detail level of the profile of candidates who sign up to the website: filling in correctly all the requested info, it’s truly possible to find out the right job opportunity for your ambitions and effective capabilities. Moreover, the website is truly accessible for everyone thanks to the Farfalla Project, an add-on active on all its pages (you can identify it from the small wheel symbol), enabling to set the best visualization according to your specific needs. The offer is completed by a blog, constantly updated with articles, news, success stories of people that, thanks to Jobmetoo, have reached their professional goals.

So, let’s update your resume, register your profile, apply to the offers fitting with you and get ready for the interview!

Different abilities and work: the disability hiring quotas

Throughout the years, many laws have been issued in order to promote the access to work for disabled people, giving them the opportunity to carry out activities suitable for their residual working capacity. The most famous and mentioned of those laws is the 68/99 law, regulating the so-called “hiring quotas”, not just for disabled people (the so-called “protected categories” don’t include just disabled people, but also orphans and widows due to war or work, refugees and victims of terrorism or criminality). The law establishes, for businesses with more than 15 employees, the obligation to hire also workers with disability (whose quotas depend on the total workforce), choosing them from the ones included in the appropriate lists. How can you have access to this (little) advantage?


  1. First, it’s essential to have a certificate attesting the invalidity and the final report, a document written by the same medical commission certifying the invalidity that aims to detail the residual working capacity of the person and the tasks he is suitable for. In order to request those documents, please refer to the INPS
  2. Then, go to the employment center of your area, bringing, in addition to the above documents, your identity card and fiscal code.
  3. You don’t need to bring certificates related to your qualifications (both educational and professional): self-certification is enough.

Once you enrolled in your province list, you’ll be contacted in case of opportunities suitable for your profile. When you get employed, your name is deleted from the list (since you’re not available anymore): should that employment relationship come to an end, you’ll have to enrol again, but it will take just a few minutes!

In the upcoming weeks, we’ll review together the private services (first of all, specialised job boards) helping the disabled people access the world of work.



Let’s go to the concert!

Summer is the season for travel and holidays, staying outside and – why not? – attending our favourite singer’ concert.

When you have to deal with mobility issues, besides buying the ticket, you also have to think about the location that will host the event: how can you make sure to be able to reach it and that, once you’ll be there, the seat you’ve bought will be suitable for who needs to use a wheelchair or crutches?

Good – better: great- news for you: all the most important companies organizing concerts and music festivals have accessible seats and, above all, particularly favourable buying conditions for disabled people and their companions.


Here you have some examples:

  • D’Alessandro & Galli, in each event it organizes, has a reserved area for disabled people and their companions, usually located near the fire exits, to guarantee their safety. The interested person must download the request form from the company website, fill it with the requested data and submit it to The day after, he will have to call 0584/46477 to confirm the reservation and know all the details about the offered facilitations, that change depending on the event. Keep in mind that seats are assigned giving priority to the most severe disabilities, then you’d better reserve your seat in advance to the events date. The company has also specific conditions for children. If you want to take your children to the concert, before buying the ticket, verify that that event is “children friendly” (sometimes, based on the type of event or the location, events could be forbidden to children) and contact the company sending an e-mail to or calling 0584/46647.
  • Barley Arts allows the disabled person and his/her companion to attend the events it organizes buying only one ticket at full price (without pre-sale rights), not using the usual sales channels, but directly contacting the company sending an e-mail to To benefit from the facilitations and reserve your seat in the accessible area, you must attach a copy of your invalidity certificate, specifying whether you need a seat or not, plus name and surname of your companion (who must necessarily be an adult) and, if you think to reach the location by car, the vehicle plate, so that you can access the reserved parks. If everything is ok, you’ll get an e-mail confirming your reservation within 10 days since you submitted your request. You can choose to buy your ticket in advance (once you’ve received the confirmation) or directly at the event ticket office: in both cases, you’ll simply have to show the confirmation e-mail printed, to have it.
  • Live Nation has even better conditions, since it offers totally free entrance both to the disabled people and to their companions. How to get it? It’s easy: well in advance (as soon as the company announces the tickets sales for the event you’re interested in are open), send a request e-mail to, specifying your name and surname, a phone number and an e-mail address and, of course, the event you’re interested in, plus a copy of your invalidity certificate. As the other companies, Live Nations gives priority to the most severe disabilities. In case of particularly requested events, the company gives the opportunity to who sends the request when the seats are sold out to enrol in the waiting list: should someone else give up, the company representative will contact the interested people to confirm the seat availability and finalize everything. But don’t take it too easy! When I decided to attend the concert of my beloved Placebo (scheduled for November 2016 in Assago), in February (9 months in advance!) there was a waiting list already: lucky me, someone gave up, otherwise I would have missed it!

Then, check the events scheduled in your city or where you want to go on holiday, reserve your seat and enjoy the show!

Taking a plane? Mission: possible!

We’ve already talked about the services enabling everybody to travel without concerns by train. What if we’d choose a more distant destination, reachable by plane?

No problem with that too! Whether you travel alone or with someone else (if he/she is an healthy adult, he/she could also be your companion), in Italy ora abroad, now every airline offer the assistance services for disabled and/or elderly people, families with children, children travelling alone, etc. Here we’ll just talk about the so-called “special assistance”, the service addressed to disabled (both physical or sensory, temporary – for instance, due to an accident or a surgery- or permanent) and elderly people.

How to request for it? Procedures vary depending on the airline: by phone, on their website using the available chat service after having booked the flight, flagging the appropriate box during the booking process, etc. Anyway, the service is always 100% free. Then, why don’t we benefit from it?

There are a lot of airlines, so I’ll avoid “hidden advertising”: you can find all the info directly on the website of the airline you’ll choose to fly with.

In this post, I’ll simply give you advices to request the service, thanks to about 4 years of direct experience, since I’m a frequent flyer, both for business or leisure reasons.


  1. Think about it in advance! In case of emergency- and if the flight you want to take isn’t full- the assistance service can be requested even during the check-in, but all the airlines suggest requesting it at least 48 hours before the departure, following the procedures specified on their websites. Furthermore, if you have recently had a surgery or suffer from a disease that could be not totally compatible with flying, make sure to bring with you, at the airport, the MEDIF (Healthcare Information Form for Flights), which must be filled by your general practitioner not earlier than 7 days before the flight. In this document, the doctor, specifying the disease the traveller suffers from and expressing a positive or negative opinion about the opportunity to fly, relieves the flight staff and the airline from any responsibility, should there be issues depending on the disease itself during the flight. Then, if you’re planning your summer holidays, get organized in advance!
  2. The day of the departure, arrive at the airport at least 90 minutes before the take off time: this way, the staff will be able to guarantee the assistance you’ve requested, both inside the airport and on the airplane (if needed).
  3. Are you changing your reservation, maybe because you decided to stay for a longer time in the place you’re visiting or, due to any other reason, you need to leave back in advance? Remember to contact the assistance service, to make sure they’re aware of the change and avoid unpleasant surprises…
  4. Do you use a wheelchair, crutches or other aids and/or device (e.g. oxygen)? Communicate it while requesting the assistance, so that the staff is ready to fully assist you.
  5. Do you need a guide dog or any other animal acting as an emotional support? Relax: it will have the chance to travel with you on board (you won’t need to buy an additional ticket for it and there won’t be weight limits), provided that you’ve communicated it to the airline in advance (should the animal be an emotional support, you’ll need to get a certificate from the specialised doctor explaining why you need it) and you make sure the animal won’t bother the other passengers or the staff during the flight.
  6. Will you need to take medicines during the flight? Even in this case, you’ll have the opportunity to take with you the amount you’ll need during the journey, presenting at the safety checks a medical certificate released not earlier than 30 days before the departure, clearly specifying their amounts and consumption ways. Should you need needles (which are normally forbidden on board), you’ll have to communicate it to the staff before taking off.

Remember that, based on your needs and the airplane model, airlines have limits to the number of “special assistance” passengers admitted on a single flight: it’s not because they’re evil or insensitive, since it’s just a way to provide the passengers with a service level suitable for their own needs. On the airplane, usually there are seats reserved to these passengers (who, for safety reasons, cannot seat, for instance, near the fire exits), whose amount varies depending on the airplane size. Then, here you have another – very good- reason not to wait ‘til the last minute!

Do you need more info? Refer to the ENAC website or to the airline you’re flying with!