Sicily: an accessible tourism is possible

When we talk about accessible tourism, we instinctively think about foreign destinations. After all, even here on Move@bility we’ve seen some examples of foreign destinations that have accessibility as the feather in their cap. But, luckily, also Italy is more and more concerned with issues affecting people with reduced mobility, elderly and families with little children. We saw the example of Trentino; today, let’s talk about my homeland: Sicily.


I won’t go into a detailed description of the landscape beauty and the cultural, artistic, architectonic and (not a bad thing, indeed) culinary abundance of Sicily, also because a whole website won’t be enough to list all of them. But there’s no doubt that even who knows it well, like me, would hardly link this wonderful island to the concept of accessibility: due to the structure of the territory and the well-known economic issues that grip the island, there are still many architectonical barriers left, limiting the daily life both of disabled and able-bodied people.

Sicilia Turismo per tutti

But even in Sicily there are top class examples in this field, such as the Sicilia Turismo per Tutti (Sicily Tourism for All) association, that has been working for years to support the accessible tourism development in Sicily, launching initiatives aiming to include all tourists, even those with “special needs”. So far, the association operates mostly in the territory of Syracuse and its surroundings, with initiatives such as: the simultaneous translation into LIS of the tragedies enacted at the Greek theatre, the visit with tactile experience for blind people at the Papyrus Museum, the ramps assisting the access of people with motoric disabilities to the most beautiful churches in the city, the itineraries designed on the specific needs of each touristic group, the sport events for all.

Sicily - Syracuse

Of course, the goal is to widespread these initiatives all over the whole region, working in synergy with the local administrations and private entrepreneurs operating in industries with a touristic interest, to reach an ambitious as much as essential final goal: a tourism that can really be for all.


Trentino: a new service for accessible holidays

Even though, usually, when we think about summer holidays, the first thing coming up to our mind is the sea, I’ve always been more attracted by mountain: uncontaminated landscapes to explore, in close contact with nature, far from the crowd and stress… Wonderful! Another quality of the mountain is that you can live it 12 months per year, in a different way based on the season. And the prospect becomes even more tempting if we think that even a context which is generally linked to the opposite of accessibility for people with motoric or sensory disabilities can, on the contrary, offer a lot to these visitors as well. It’s demonstrated also by the Trentino “Vacanza Facile” project, a web portal built up by several local companioning organizations: the “Archè” Social Co-operative, the “Scie di Passione” Ski School, the Social Co-operative “La Ruota”, AGSAT (the Trentino Association of Autistic People’ Parents), the Ski Elite Group, the Social Promotion Association “Nuove Rotte”, the “Zampa Amica” Association, the Autism Social Co-operative, the Erterle Social Shelter, the Integrated Personal Assistance Social Co-operative, La Mano (transportation service for disabled people) and Avisio Rafting.


The Trentino “Vacanza Facile” project aims to let disabled people and their families know all the opportunities and structures this wonderful region offers to enable them enjoying their holiday, but always paying a lot of attention to everyone’ specific needs.

Trentino - lake

The accessible tourism offer collected on the website is very varied:

  • open air excursions on paths designed based on the participants needs, with the chance to benefit from accessible shelters and bivouacs along the tour
  • skiing on the suggestive Dolomites
  • rafting
  • pet therapy
  • water activities into the swimming pool
  • visits to museums and castles
  • country festivals and other opportunities of amusement and fun.


And you can benefit from all of this without ever losing sight of the hosts safety, also thanks to the continuous presence and support of assistants, educators and specialised consultants.

So, are you ready to book your accessible stay in Trentino?


Prague: a city to discover and live

Have you just come back from summer holidays and are ready to leave again, yet? You can always plan a long weekend in one of the most enchanting European capital cities: Prague, the wonderful Czech Republic’ capital city, which, year after year, attracts millions of tourists from all over the world.

Prague - St. Wenceslas Square

St. Wenceslas Square

Sure, Prague isn’t totally accessible, yet, also due to its tight streets paved with cobblestones. But also who has movement issues (whether using a wheelchair or not) can enjoy the fascination of this city, rich in history and magic, which is moving forward as regards the accessibility of monuments, museum, public places and transport network.

Let’s start from public transport. Surface transit is gradually adequating to the needs of passengers with reduced mobility, replacing the oldest vehicles with others ensuring full accessibility. The subway network is moving forward towards accessibility too, with most of the stations equipped with elevators and clear info, also for blind people in the newest ones (guide-dogs are always welcome, also in monuments and public buildings). Furthermore, disabled people and their companions can access for free.

The most well-known and visited monuments in the city are improving their accessibility too, adding elevators, ramps, equipped bathrooms and dedicated accesses. Let’s see some examples:

Prague - The Castle

The Castle

  • The Castle, symbol of the growth of the nation, whose building started back in the IX century and went on for the following eleven, is made up by a majestic complex of religious buildings, fortification and offices representing all the architectonical styles and historical periods and cover 45 hectares. Originally, it was the Bohemian princes and kings’ residence, while nowadays is the presidential location. Disabled people and their companions can access for free the administrative area of the Castle and the Gallery. Among the churches that can be visited inside the castle complex, we must mention Vivian’s Cathedral, St. Wenceslas and St. Adalbert, a majestic gothic building, started in the XIV century and finished only at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, that is accessible through a ramp at the entrance and can be visited without any barrier in the interior part (there’s also an equipped bathroom) and St. George’s Basilica, in Romanesque style, almost fully accessible, despite it was built back in the X century. Always inside the Castle, there’s the ancient Royal Palace, built again many times throughout the centuries, accessible to people on wheelchairs through an electric stairlift, to visit, among the others, the majestic Vladislav Room.
  • The Ancient City Hall, which has been hosting the city authorities since the first half of the XIV century, has one of the city symbols, the astronomical clock with the statues of the 12 Apostles appearing on its top every hour from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. Accessibility is granted by a ramp at the entrance and several elevators, enabling to access the tower as well: here you can enjoy a wonderful view of the city.
Prauea - The astronomical clock

The astronomical clock

  • The Charles Bridge, built by Charles IV back in the XIV century to replace the Judith Bridge destroyed by the Moldova overflow, connects the Ancient City to the Malá Strana district. One of the most visited attractions in Prague, the Bridge is just a little bit longer than 500 m, has two fortifications delimiting its extremities and, along the path, statues of saints.
Prague - Charles Bridge

Charles Bridge

But Prague doesn’t just mean history and monuments. The city hosts, all over the year, festivals, concerts, exhibitions, which are usually accessible for everyone.

Are you tempted to leave, but, before booking your journey, would like to solve other doubts? Here you have a few references:

Enjoy your holiday!

Accessible beaches: how to identify them?

Discussions about the need to furtherly increase the number of accessible beaches, in Italy and abroad, are always more frequent. They’d enable everyone, including elderly or disabled people and families, to enjoy a holiday at the sea without worries or architectonical barriers. But how to identify really accessible beaches and beach resorts? What are the features they need to have?

Let’s start saying that, so that a beach or beach resort is considered accessible in accordance with laws, it a boardwalk allowing to easily go from to the resort to the beach and vice versa isn’t enough. There are different disabilities and, therefore, the individual needs are different and all of them must be satisfied as best as we can.

The National Laboratory of Accessible Tourism has written down guidelines to help clarifying the fundamental requirements for accessible beaches:

  1. a parking area near the beach resort;
  2. an adequate and recognisable footpath, leading to the beach resort;
  3. the access to the beach reception and coffee bar;
  4. an adequate bathroom;
  5. an adequate shower;
  6. access to the beach equipped area (beach umbrellas, beach loungers, etc.) through an adequate boardwalk;
  7. an adequate changing room;
  8. a specific guidance and orientation system for blind and partially-sighted people.

accessible beaches

Maybe you’ve noticed that there’s a recurring adjective, in the list above: “adequate”, that is complying with the law no. 13 of January 9th 1989Regulations to promote the overtaking and removal of architectonical barriers in private buildings” and with the Circular no. 259 of January 23rd 1990 by the Merchant Marine Ministry, that applies it to the beach resorts as well; as regards accessibility to coffee bars and restaurants, the reference law is the 236/89 ministerial decree.

Should even just one of these essential requirements be lacking, the beach resort or the beach cannot be marked as accessible.

Furthermore, there are “optimal” requirements, meaning that they aren’t essential, but desirable, to ensure that the beach or the resort are fully accessible:

  1. a reserved parking area near the resort entrance;
  2. access to all the offered services (leisure area, catering, etc.)
  3. possibility to pick a seat on the beach that can be equipped and made accessible;
  4. presence of aids to go in and out the water;
  5. presence, in the leisure area, of games that can be safely used by disabled children as well.

In addition to the infrastructural requirements, it’s useful to point out also the typical services of accessible beaches: the availability of clear and up-to-date information and communications about the beach offer, t allow a choice that is adequate to all the customers’ needs; the constant maintenance of infrastructures to guarantee a seamless quality service; the hospitality the structure should provide people with special needs with, ensuring not just as much autonomy as possible, but also support provided by qualified and properly trained staff, to answer the demand of hosts with special needs.

Luckily, also in Italy there’s a growing number of accessible resorts under this perspective as well: we hope they won’t be a commendable exception, but the standard.

Slovenia: an (accessible) paradise close to Italy

In the heart of Europe, there’s an authentic paradise: Slovenia. Among seas and mountains, with a unique cultural and environmental richness, Slovenia is a small state, but rich in treasures to discover. For Italian people, since it borders with Friuli-Venezia Giulia, it’s the perfect destination also for last minute holidays, all over the year.

Slovenia - Ljubljana


In these last years, the Slovenian government is very committed to improve the country accessibility, making it more usable also from people with motoric, sensory or psychic disabilities, but also families with little children.

All the buildings, both public and private, built in Slovenia in the last years are fully accessible. But they’re working a lot also to adequate the existing ones, including historic monuments and natural parks, as well as urban spaces, with sidewalks equipped with ramps, reserved parking lots and ATM placed at a height accessible also from a wheelchair and, in many cases, equipped with Braille instructions for blind people. Furthermore, since 2011, the Slovenian Disabled Workers Association releases the “Handicapped people-friendly city” certificate to the cities actively committed to promote the disabled people’ inclusion.

Cities and touristic attractions offer discounts to disabled people and, sometimes, even free entry. Let’s see together some of the Slovenian symbols that are accessible to everyone.

Ljubljana, the wonderful Slovenian capital city, is investing a lot on the fully accessibility of public transport (the mission is almost accomplished, both for buses and for the railway station) and museums, art galleries and the most important touristic attractions. First, the Castle (in Slovenian, Ljubljanski grad); the symbol of the city, whose construction started in the IX century and today hosts exhibitions, concerts and other cultural events, can be reached by everyone thanks to a funicular railway equipped to host also disabled people. Even the city zoo has a dedicated access for disabled people. Furthermore, visitors with the city touristic card (Urbana) can benefit from free entry.

The Postojna caves (Postojnska jama), 20 kilometres of galleries and salt with calcareous concretions, every year attract thousands of tourists from all around the world. Since the end of the Nineteenth Century, they are equipped with electric lights and a small train enabling to visit them staying comfortably seated, at least for the first part of the caves. The Postojna caves have also a dedicated access for disabled people.

Slovenia - Postojna caves

Postojna caves

The wonderful Bled and Zbilje lakes, perfect for walking immersed in the environment or (mostly the second) for rowing lovers, are increasingly accessible for all, including disabled people. The same is valid for the thermal baths (such as the Dobrna and the Zreče baths) and for the Triglav national park, which has also two laboratories for blind people.

Slovenia - Bled Lake

Bled Lake

So, have I convinced you to visit Slovenia? I hope so!

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

“Mare, profumo di mare…”: the accessible cruise

If, just like me, you grew up in the wonderful ‘80s, you’ve surely identified the song including the words I used as a title for this article: the “Love boat” theme! How many of you, watching the series, have wished, at least for once, to leave on a beautiful cruise, visiting exotic lands and, maybe, having dinner at the captain’s table?

There’s no reason to give this dream up, even if you have a physical or sensory limitation or are pregnant. Let’s see what some of the most famous cruise lines offer.


  • MSC Crociere, on its boats, has cabins equipped for disabled hosts: to reserve one, simply request it (using the dedicated form available online) during the booking process or not later than 2 days before the departure. Furthermore, all the common spaces are designed to be accessible both for motoric and sensory disabled people, with Braille signage for visually impaired passengers. And what about deaf people? Upon request, cabins can be with bright and vibrating devices, a text phone and an analogical alarm. If you need a guide dog, you can bring it on board, provided that you have the requested documents and take on full responsibility. If you are pregnant, you can hop on board if you haven’t exceeded the 24th pregnancy week by the end of the cruise: in any event, it’s advisable to have a medical certificate confirming that you can travel.
  • Also Costa Crociere provides people with motoric or sensory disabilities or who have specific food needs with ad hoc If you want to know the details about the services, until the dedicated section on the company website is properly restored, you can call the (special fare) dedicated number 848 505050 or ask to be contacted filling the dedicated form.
  • Besides guaranteeing, on board, a totally barrier-free environment and providing disabled passengers with standard assistance services, Royal Caribbean has longer times to request specific services: for instance, if you wish to have a sign language interpreter on board, you must submit your request at least 60 days before sailing, while, for specific cabin equipment, you can request them “just” 30 days earlier.

But, you know, cruising doesn’t just mean having a (even funny) time on the boat. Excursions are an essential part of the journey! How can you make sure you’ll be able to enjoy them, despite some obstacles? Conditions and offered services vary– of course- depending on the destination you’ve chosen. Then, my advice is to well evaluate all the details of your journey before booking. Thereafter, once all doubts have dissolved… Let’s raise the anchor!

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!