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Accessible Rome

Looking for accessible Rome tips? Rome streets and sidewalks can be notoriously difficult to navigate as a pedestrian, let alone in a wheelchair or with a walking stick. 

However, there are plenty of options for people with limited mobility to visit Rome's attractions. 



Wheelchair Accessible Rome and Other Options for Visiting Rome with Limited Mobility

I usually recommend walking around Rome, so you can go slowly and see smaller streets and piazzas.

Of course, this is not always feasible. If you have limited mobility, there are still lots of way to enjoy Rome.

Here's what you need to know about visiting Rome with limited mobility or in a wheelchair:

Sight-seeing in Rome in a Wheelchair

The ancient Romans were pretty amazing at building aqueducts, roads, and monuments that have stood for centuries.

Unfortunately, it seems that modern Rome has not quite come up to 20th century standards when it comes to accessibility.

We have a lot of uneven cobblestone streets (that already make walking hard on one's feet), broken curbs, and either non-existing sidewalks or sidewalks so narrow, you need to walk in single file.

On this Roman street, there is no sidewalk, and what little side-space there is, has been taken up by cars parked illegally.

These are barely ideal conditions for walking, let alone getting around on wheels, whether we are talking about a wheelchair, bicycle, or baby stroller.

On this typical Trastevere street, you can see the types of cobblestones we have in a lot of places around Rome - charming but uncomfortable, and sometimes, difficult to manage.

Accessible Rome Sites

Most of Rome's popular attractions have at least some accessibility for people with limited mobility or in a wheelchair. 

The Vatican and Sistine Chapel

The Vatican Museums has a really excellent page in English with everything you need to know about visiting the Vatican Museums with limited mobility.

Where Saint Peter's Basilica is concerned, you can visit it with a wheelchair. I've found the best online advice is on John Sage's website.

Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill

The Colosseum is certainly visitable in a wheelchair, but your options are a little limited.

There is a ramp for entry, and you can move around parts of the lower level. There is an elevator to reach the second level. Unfortunately, it's not possible to visit the underground or upper tiers in a wheelchair.

Visit the Colosseum official website, CoopCulture, for details.

Pantheon

Luckily it's pretty easy to visit the Pantheon in a wheelchair. The square is paved with cobblestones but they are fairly uniform and the ground is mostly flat.

Inside the Pantheon, you can easily navigate those original marble floors put there during the reign of the emperor Hadrian in around 120 C.E.

Galleria Borghese

You can visit the Galleria Borghese in a wheelchair.

You can come in your own, or ask to borrow one of theirs once you arrive. You cannot book one of their wheelchairs in advance, but just ask when you get there.

Visiting the Galleria Borghese in a wheelchair is very doable, and you can see both floors and all the rooms.

There is an elevator inside that will allow you to visit both floors of this amazing museum.

This page is all about the accessibility of the Galleria Borghese, but it's only in Italian (try using Google translate to read it).

Capitoline Museums

The Capitoline Museums is one of the more accessible Rome attractions. You can visit much of the museum in a wheelchair.

I discovered, thanks to wheelchairtraveling.com, that the issue is more about GETTING TO the entrance to the Capitoline Museums.

Their website shows how to access the museums

But to get up the hill, you will need someone pretty strong and capable to push you up along the winding ramp on the side, or, you will need to take a taxi up there.

Piazzas in Rome

Large piazzas like Piazza Navona, Piazza della Rotonda (where the Pantheon is), and Piazza del Popolo are also fairly easy to navigate in a wheelchair.

Santa Maria in Trastevere is a large, fairly flat piazza that is pretty easy to get around in a wheelchair.

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Less Accessible Rome Sites

While there are a few less accessible Rome sites for those in a wheelchair, you can still see a lot of Rome.

Below are some not-so accessible Rome places you might want to either skip, or visit with a tour company that specializes in tours of these areas.

Palatine Hill

The Palatine Hill is pretty difficult to manage in a wheelchair.

Below you can see the sign for a ramp for wheelchairs. But most of the rest of Palatine Hill is made up of stairs, and bumpy dirt and stone roads, with lots of broken tiles. 

There are a few places with ramps, but to see the best the Palatine Hill as to offer if you are in a wheelchair, you will need to be a little adventurous and intrepid.

However, I discovered this company called Rome and Italy Tours. They have developed this amazing portable chair, which they call a "Wheely Trekky", and they can take you to the Palatine Hill and other similar less accessible Rome sites (see below for my suggestions for tour companies that specialize in accessible tours).

Trevi Fountain

On one hand, it may seem that visiting the Trevi Fountain in a wheelchair is not that difficult. On the other, you have two factors that do in fact make it a bit hard to manage.

The first is the small space that the Trevi Fountain is in.

The fountain seems outsized compared to the minimal space available for people to gather to look at the fountain. And this means it's almost always crowded (except in the dead of winter, or between the hours of 2am-6am).

And the crowds definitely make it a pain to try to jostle for a spot in a wheelchair.

trevi fountain crowdsThe Trevi Fountain is beautiful but it's also often very crowded. You often need to jostle and push for a spot. Not an ideal way to see it if you are in a wheelchair.

The second factor making it hard to see the Trevi Fountain is the stairs.

It doesn't mean you cannot see the Trevi Fountain in a wheelchair. This just means that you may not be able to get down and close to the basin. 

basin and stairs of trevi fountainIf you are in a wheelchair, you may not be able to get a closeup of the Trevi Fountain from the basin at the bottom.

My suggestion is to try to come early in the morning, or in low season, when there are fewer people.

trevi fountain dawnDawn is in my opinion the best time to see the Trevi Fountain. This is also true if you are visiting Rome in a wheelchair. No crowds, no pushing.

Castel Sant'Angelo

Most of a visit to Castel Sant'Angelo involves walking up and around the building itself. 

There is an elevator to take visitors to the top, but you miss most of the best of what the museum has to offer. It's possible to visit this monument in a wheelchair, but just know, your options will be unfortunately limited.

Accessible Rome Tours

You can book wheelchair accessible tours directly through the Colosseum website or the Vatican Museums website.

But if you want a more hands-on approach, and a tour specifically tailored to your disability, I have found that it's best to go through an agency that specializes in these types of tours.

Here are a few agencies that offer dedicated accessible tours in Rome:

  • Sage Travelling bill themselves at the "European Disabled Travel Experts", and they have great, detailed information about visiting Rome and other parts of Italy and Europe. They also offer specific tours in Rome, based on your needs. You can contact them directly via their website.
  • Accessible Italian Holiday specialize in Italy tours and tourism for the disabled. They offer personalized accessible tours. You can contact them via their website.
  • I am really impressed with the website of Rome and Italy Tours. They focus on tours for the disabled, but they also have an amazing solution that nobody else seems to have. With their wheelchair invention, the "Wheely Trekky", they can take you to some fairly difficult-to-manage areas like the Palatine Hill. Check their tour options on their website here.
  • My Best Tour has a fairly clunky and difficult to read website, but they do offer a variety of tours in Rome for the disabled. Visit their page here.

Accessible Rome - Practical Matters

Where can you rent a wheelchair in Rome

You can rent a wheelchair for your visit to Rome (and other parts of Italy), through this website.

Hotels in Rome with Accessible Facilities

More and more Rome hotels have facilities for people with disabilities.

I would suggest avoiding apartment rentals and even small B&Bs unless they specifically say they cater to people with wheelchairs.

Many medium-sized and larger hotels not only have rooms that cater to people with disabilities, but also whole common areas of the hotel such as wide elevators, ramps, and restroom facilities in the lobby or restaurant.

John Sage Travel has done a lot of research on the best wheelchair accessible hotels in Rome. You can visit his page here.

You can also use the below search engine for Hotels.com. Start with your dates and once it takes you to the Hotels.com booking site, you can go a little down the left-hand menu until you get to "Accessibility Features", and fine-tune the search from there.



Getting Around Rome in a Wheelchair

As mentioned at the top of this page, Rome's sidewalks can be difficult to navigate, even on foot.

We have a lot of cobblestones and often, they are broken and sticking up.

We do have some ramps on some sidewalks, but it's not consistent, and, often, these are blocked by illegally parked cars.

The easiest outdoor areas to get around in a wheelchair are the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, via dei Fori Imperiali, Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, Vatican Square, and Piazza del Popolo. 

These all have relatively smooth pavements, sidewalks and/or streets.

Riding the Metro in Rome in a Wheelchair

To find out which Rome metro stops have facilities for the disabled, visit this page published by the city of Rome.

Getting around Rome by Bus in a wheelchair

The Rome public transportation system does not yet have this info in English. But I can tell you that the following lines have facilities for the disabled:

H, 81, 85, 90, 170, 490, 44, 46, 60, 360, 80, 590, 87, 660, 671, 664, 558, 650, 20, 786, 781, 990.

Getting around Rome by taxi in a wheelchair

There are several taxi cooperatives that you can call. The biggest one, 06 3570, has a large fleet of cars and vans outfitted for people with disabilities. You can visit their site here.

Hiring a private service for transport in Rome in a wheelchair

All of the accessible Rome tour sites I linked to above also offer transportation in vans equipped specifically for people in wheelchairs. You can contact this one for more information.

Some Excellent Resources - with my thanks

While researching what to write for this page, I came across some fantastic resources, some of which I refer to on this page.

These sites were written by people who have a lot of experience travelling with a wheelchair themselves, so I humbly defer to their expertise.

Two of the best sites you can refer to are wheelchairtraveling.com and sagetraveling.com.

Also, while writing and researching this page over several months, some of my readers have also chimed in. If you have any suggestions for me to add to this page about Accessible Rome, or to change something you see that may be incorrect or incomplete, I welcome your input.

I am grateful for the advice of everyone who helped me put this page about Accessible Rome together.


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