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


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.



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


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.


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!


SalaBlu online: train assistance in a few clicks

During All Saint’s Day long weekend, I had the chance to make a short trip by train. Of course, to make sure avoiding issues hopping on and off the train (waiting for when Italy will reach the full autonomous accessibility, for passengers with motoric disabilities too, as it happens already since a long time in other countries… but let’s keep hoping!), a few days before the departure, I requested the assistance I need, through the standard Trenitalia procedure. Everything went smoothly, both during the leaving and the return, also thanks to the assistance of very kind and friendly operators. I didn’t know that Trenitalia has just launched a brand new platform (actually, a little bit hidden inside the website) to request more quickly the assistance service that fits best with each passenger’ specific needs: SalaBlu online.

SalaBlu online

Picture ©Trenitalia

how to use salablu online?

To access SalaBlu online, you must sign up on the platform (any existing access data used on Trenitalia website isn’t worth), filling the form with the requested info: personal data, e-mail, phone, preferred assistance service (you can pick up to 3 different ones, according to your specific disability) and authorization to data usage for delivering the service (the second authorization, referred to the service quality, is optional). Once you’ve completed the sign-up procedure clicking on “Conferma”, you’ll get an e-mail message with a link to confirm your registration and setting up a password to access the service.

how to request assistance through SALABLU ONLINE?

Once you’ve logged in, clicking on “Proposte di viaggio”, you’ll see a screenshot where you can select the data about the trip you’re interested in, using, where available, the drop-down menus: departure date, departure time slot, departure and arrival stations. Thereafter, you’ll reach a screen summarizing the trip solutions fitting with the criteria you’ve specified earlier: just choose your preferred one clicking on the two arrows to reach the screenshot reserved to the details about the assistance service you have requested. For instance, in case of assistance for motoric disability, you’ll have to specify if you need help to hop on and off the train, if you need the lift truck and the meeting points, plus your trip companion’s data (if any). Once you have filled this screen as well, your assistance request is registered on the system and processed by the involved blue rooms: you can check the status of your request through “Proposte di viaggio”, whenever you want.

In conclusion, essentially, now, thanks to SalaBlu online, you can do more quickly and in total autonomy what you previously used to do through e-mail or phone, with a longer procedure (and, sometimes, risking to buy a trip solution not fitting with the assistance service you need). Plus, should you have doubts, the “Guide” is just one click away!

Have you tested this service already? What do you think about it?


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?



Dublin: tips for an accessible journey

Ah, Ireland… Nature, history, music, pubs, beer: there are so many reasons to love this country and think about spending a holiday there. But, let’s be honest, at least until a few years ago, accessibility and attention towards disabled people’ needs weren’t exactly the first thing coming up to your mind, thinking about Dublin and its surroundings. Luckily, things are evolving and, also thanks to the commitment of many local associations and to the adoption of digital technologies, a deeper awareness about these topics is spreading. Then, why not thinking about Dublin for your next holiday? As always, it’s important to plan it well in advance and search for the appropriate info, to avoid unpleasant surprises once there.

Ireland - Dublin

Reaching Dublin from Italy is very easy and convenient: the city airport, according to the experts, is one of the most accessible in Europe. Once you get there, if you prefer renting a car, you’ll have the chance to choose one fitting with your specific needs. On the contrary, if you prefer public transports, you’ll be glad to know that, in Dublin, the most part of buses, trams and trains, and their stops, is accessible to travellers with motoric disability and work to adapt all of them is in progress. Do you prefer cabs? Many of them are accessible also to passengers using a wheelchair: you’ll identify them from the icon visible on the vehicle’s top.

Ireland - Dublin Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral

And what about the city monuments, museums, pubs, restaurants and shops? Finding the information about the accessibility of the attractions we’re more interested in is easy, thanks to a very well curated website, created by two Dubliner guys and award-winning for its commitment to accessibility: Mobility Mojo, sort of “accessibility Tripadvisor”, that, based on the info shared by website managers and users (and verified by the website managers), provides detailed info about the accessibility of touristic attractions, hotels, shops, public transports, not only in Dublin. To see them, you only have to sign up (for free) on the site. It isn’t addressed only to disabled people (for instance, the presence of elevators, the absence of stairs, and so on), but also to people with special needs (for instance, who travels with little children and needs to know if the place he wants to visit has bathrooms equipped with areas to change the diaper).

Ireland - Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

Enjoy your holiday in Dublin!

St. Petersburg: towards accessibility

When we think about accessibility and inclusion of people with disability, Russia isn’t exactly the first country coming up to our mind. And that’s right, according to the data. Nevertheless, to tell the truth, we must admit that, mostly before the Sochi 2014’ Winter Olympic Games, Russia started a path precisely aiming to make the country more accessible and inclusive towards people with any disability or, however, with reduced mobility. Then, why don’t we take the chance to discover closely this big country, rich in history? Let’s start from one of the most fascinating cities in the world: St. Petersburg, the second city in the country, after Moscow, on the Neva’s bank.

St. Petersburg - The Winter Palace

The Winter Palace

Let’s say it right away: there are plenty of reasons to visit this city, but, currently, doing it isn’t that easy, for people dealing with a reduced mobility. However, with a little bit of patience and getting organized in advance, you can visit St. Petersburg without experiencing too many issues. Sure, based on your specific disability, you’d better avoid public transport, which is still far from full accessibility (even though something is improving, thanks to the “Sochi project”): there are still just a few subway stations accessible to people with motoric disabilities and surface transit with lowered platform are very rare, not to mention signage for blind people, pretty much lacking. However, there are some tour operators (for instance, this one and this other one) offering touristic itineraries fitting with the disabled travellers’ needs.

St. Petersburg - Hermitage


Accessibility is better if we look at the main touristic attractions in St. Petersburg, starting from the suggestive Hermitage museum, one of the biggest and most famous in the world, that’s been made accessible to visitors with motoric disability installing a service elevator. The same is valid for the majestic Winter Palace, the former imperial residence, which now is part of the Hermitage main complex, and for the Mariinsky theatre. Not forgetting St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the biggest orthodox basilica in the world, and the Nevsky Boulevard, which represents the (touristic, artistic and historic) heart of the city, where overlook many monuments, malls, museums and artistic attractions. There are also restaurants and hotels accessible to people with disability: you can find some examples here.

St. Petersburg - Nevsky Boulevard

Nevsky Boulevard

Then, when are we leaving?

Norway: nature, history and accessibility

When we talk about accessibility, Northern Europe has nothing to learn. And Norway doesn’t except, luckily! Indeed, this fascinating country, rich in natural beauty and history, has always cared a lot about disabled people needs. Then, if you’re thinking about visiting it, please note that, apart from a little bit of caution linked to the climate (during winter, snow and ice are the standard and temperatures aren’t exactly mild), you can focus on holiday and leave worries at home! But let’s immediately start our “virtual tour”.

As always, my first advice, if you want to spend a holiday in Norway, is to plan it well in advance. The best time to fully enjoy the beauty of Norway goes from late spring to summer, when temperature is mild and, then, going about is more pleasant. Because there’s plenty of things to see in Norway!

Norway - The northern lights seen from the Lofoten islands

The northern lights seen from the Lofoten islands

The most comfortable and fast way to reach Norway from Italy, of course, is airplane: contact well in advance the airline you’ll choose to request the assistance you need and avoid unpleasant glitches during the flight. Once you’ve reached your destination, you’ll realize that, as in all the Northern Europe countries, also in Norway accessibility is very important, not only in Oslo and in the other main cities, but also in national parks and in the fjords region. Public transport and stops are, for the overwhelming majority, fully accessible to people with disability, not just with a motoric one.

Norway - The Royal Palace in Oslo

Oslo, the Royal Palace

Norway - Oslo, Vigeland Park

Oslo, Vigeland Park

And what about museums, monuments and public places? Norway has been very committed, throughout the years, to make its most important monuments and museums as accessible as possible, since they attract tourists from all around the world. In Oslo, for instance, the Royal Palace, built in the first half of the nineteenth century, today is one of the most accessible in the world. The same is valid for the most well-known museums in the city, from the Viking one to that devoted to the Peace Nobel Prize history, plus the magnificent Opera House and the National Theatre or the suggestive Vigeland Park (also known as “sculptures’ park”), devoted the works of the artist Gustav Vigeland. Shops and public places are, generally, accessible also to who uses a wheelchair: there are still some issues left for the oldest ones, that sometimes have stairs or narrow spaces in their interior parts.

Do you prefer the beauty of nature? Take the chance to do a cruise in the fjords region, in the South of Norway, or to enjoy the breath-taking landscapes of the Lofoten islands, very close to the Polar Arctic Circle. Everything will be fully accessible and safe, as you can see in this video about the fjords in the Rogaland area.

Amsterdam: eco-friendly, transgressive…and accessible!

Let’s continue our imaginary tour of accessible Europe stopping at Amsterdam, the Netherlands’ capital city. Culturally lively, eco-friendly (just think about the huge number of bicycles you can see on the streets) and transgressive (try asking your friends the first things they link to the city… apart from tulips and Dutch clogs!), as many Northern Europe capitals, Amsterdam is certainly cutting-edge about accessibility, for people with movement issues or “special” needs (don’t be naughty, please!).

Dutch clogs - Amsterdam

Reaching Amsterdam from Italy is easy: by airplane, in a few hours, you can get to Schipol airport, enormous but absolutely suitable for all passengers, for its accessibility. To reach the city, you can use the intercity train connecting the airport to the center of Amsterdam, better booking in advance the assistance you need, since, to get on board, you must overtake three steps: you’d have the chance to request it also directly there, but be prepared to wait… for hours! Instead, if you choose a slower train, Sprinter, you can do without assistance, since the entrance is at the platform level.


Once you arrive in Amsterdam, you can breathe a sigh of relief: even though the streets are paved with small bricks, the city is suitable for people with reduced mobility, thanks to ramps facilitating going up and down the sidewalks and not so many circulating cars (in compensation, as I said earlier, there’s a lot of bicycles, but also cycle paths). Public transport is generally accessible as well: the subway network has elevators and trains at the same level as the platforms; the new trams have accessible entrances and, for any event, platforms can be pulled out by the drivers. Instead, not all the buses, so far, are accessible, but many of them have platforms that can be pulled out to allow access also to travellers on wheelchairs. But Amsterdam is a “water city”, so it would be a pity not to take a tour on one of its boats, all fully accessible. And there’s even more: if you want to take a bicycle tour, you can do it even if you use a wheelchair, renting one of the special bicycles. To plan your city tour as better as you can, you can check the local city transport company website (it’s available also in English).


The most comfortable (and convenient) way to visit Amsterdam as a tourist is the Amsterdam Card, that you can request also online and allows you to freely take public transport, but also access the most important attractions and museums in the city (in many cases, tourists with disability and their companions, but also children, can benefit from discounts). Most of the museums and of the most craved touristic destinations are accessible: from the Van Gogh Museum to Anna Frank’s home (at least in the renovated part) to the Heineken Experience, you’ll have the chance to access everywhere without too many issues. And the same is valid for most of the city restaurants and public places (here you can find detailed info about the accessibility of museums, transport and public places of the most important Dutch cities).

You just have to leave: enjoy your holiday!

PS. Have you been there and would like to share info with the other Move@bility users? You’re welcome!

Paris and accessibility: a possible pair

Paris attracts millions of tourists from all over the world: after all, it offers so many attractions that it couldn’t be otherwise! Nevertheless, when I visited it, a few years ago, I must confess I wasn’t positively impressed by the city, most of all as regards the accessibility of transports (particularly, the subway stations) and public places in general: even though I don’t need to use a wheelchair, I experienced some issues visiting the city, which contributed to dampen my enthusiasm towards the very well-known “Ville Lumière”.

Paris - The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower

Nevertheless, since I always try to give a second chance, after having watched once again one of my favourite movies, Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain, I searched again and, very surprisingly, I discovered that, under many points of view, in these years, Paris accessibility has improved a lot.

Paris - The Moulin Rouge

The Moulin Rouge

TRAnSPORTs: ARRIVing and moving in paris

If you want to go to Paris from North-Western Italy, it can be extremely comfortable using the famous TGV to reach the French capital city. Of course, this train provides disabled passengers with dedicated assistance services, that can be requested directly from the French website. Should you have special needs, you can also send an e-mail (in French or English) to Moreover, on TGVs, disabled people can travel first class buying a second-class ticket, while their companion (if any) travels for free. Instead, if you prefer the airplane, both the city airports (Charles De Gaulle and Orly) offer both the standard assistance services and various accessible solutions, to meet everyone’s need. And, once in the city, how are things going?

Paris - Notre Dame

Notre Dame Cathedral

The very extensive Paris subway network, unfortunately, is still mainly inaccessible to people with movement issues, since elevators and escalators are available only in a few stations (and often not working…), there are gaps among platforms and trains, etc. Today, only the 14 “Météor” Line (Gare Saint-Lazare-Olympiades), which is the newest one, is totally accessible (since it has been designed without architectonical barriers). So, if you have particular movement issues (or large and heavy luggage), my advice is to choose surface transit: buses and trams are, mostly, accessible both to people with motoric and sensory disabilities. To make sure avoiding unpleasant surprises, you’d better plan your transfers all over the city visiting the website of the company managing the public transport in Paris. An unmissable experience (and suitable for all) is the touristic tour on the famous Bateau-Mouche, the boat that allows seeing the most important attractions of the city, while doing a suggestive tour on the Seine.

Paris - The Bateau Mouche

The Bateau-Mouche

“must see” in paris

I’m not going to make a list of the movements and attractions of the French capital city, since everybody knows them. I’ll only tell you that, luckily, the growing awareness towards accessibility doesn’t reflect only on transports and on the appearance of most part of the city streets, now equipped with joints among sidewalks and street levels near crossroads and crosswalks. As it still happens too often here in Italy, even in Paris coffees and restaurants are well far from being totally accessible, but things are improving also under this perspective. Monuments and museums are increasingly accessible to people with motoric disabilities, thanks to the installation elevators and ramps. In many cases, disabled visitors and their companions can benefit from free access or, as it happens for the Eiffel tower or in Disneyland Paris, from a discount and reserved entrances. Do you want to make sure that the museum or the attraction you’re going to visit satisfies your mobility needs? Check it on, a website that’s also available as an app for smartphones. And what about hotels? The accessible ones are identified by the logo of Tourisme & Handicaps, an association whose website offers a very useful search engine of accommodation facilities, restaurants and public places that are accessible to everyone.

Paris - Louvre

The Louvre Museum

Maybe I’d better get back visiting Paris: hopefully, this time I’ll have a better experience! Would you like joining me?