Destination Availibility Guide: Rome

With its cobbled streets and often-crowded tourist attractions, Rome can seem a daunting holiday destination to wheelchair users. However, we firmly believe that every traveller should visit this beautiful city at least once in their lifetime, and you may be surprised by just how accessible Rome is.

Our guide below details how accessible the top attractions are and provides some tips to getting around the city day to day.

The Colosseum and Roman Forum

Rome Colusseum

The Colosseum has recently been modernised, so it’s easy for wheelchair users to navigate. Its paths are mostly flat and smooth and there is an elevator which allows visitors to access the upper floor, where you can view the Colosseum from a different perspective.

The Roman Forum, however, presents a bigger challenge for wheelchair users. Whilst there is a lift down into the ruins, the paths are mostly cobbled, so you may need a friend to help you get around. There is a disabled access toilet, but you must overcome an uneven path to reach it.

Vatican City

Rome Vatican City

There is a lot to see and do in the Vatican City, so bear this in mind if you’re planning to do it all in one day. Luckily, the museum and the Sistine Chapel are incredibly easy to navigate as a wheelchair user. If you don’t always use a wheelchair, but think you may require one for the long museum tour, you can hire one – just be sure to book in advance as there are only a few available.

You can find accessible bathrooms throughout the museum, and the friendly staff are always on hand to help if need be. In fact, it seems as if there are some advantages to being a wheelchair user here, as you’ll have the opportunity to access parts of the museum not available to others. For example, you’ll get a wonderful view of the Sistine Chapel.

One of the only parts of the Vatican City that cannot be accessed via wheelchair is the Vatican Gardens. This is due to the tricky terrain – in fact you’ll need to be pretty fit to take part in this two-hour long tour.

The Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon

Rome Trevi Fountain

If you want to get down to the water’s edge, you’ll need to navigate a handful of steps, so bring a friend who can help you down safely. Be wary that the Trevi Fountain is almost always crowded, which will also make it difficult to get down those few steps.

The Pantheon, on the other hand, is completely wheelchair accessible and free to visit.

Restaurants and cafes

Most eateries are rather small and are therefore not well suited to wheelchair users. If you’re visiting in the summer, we recommend eating outside – not only does it make things easier for you, it’s the best way to eat in Italy anyway! Finding accessible toilets can be tricky too; if you’re struggling to find a suitable public toilet, try the nearest McDonald’s as they will almost certainly have one.

General tips and advice

You will find your trip to Rome much less stressful if you take a friend with you that can help you navigate the cobbled streets. Your transport options are limited, so we suggest staying within the city centre and using a taxi or bus to get from one part of Rome to the other.

If you don’t want to travel with a friend, or are unable to, consider going on an accessible tour. There are lots of specialised tours to choose from which allow you to see the best parts of the city. Who knows, you may even make some new friends on your trip.

With a little help and forward-planning, it is possible to explore Rome with relative ease. Most of the main attractions now have disabled access, and the ones that don’t are bound to incorporate it in the future. After all, Rome was not built in a day.

A traveller’s list of New Year’s resolutions

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However, a great many of us do express a desire to travel a bit more and with that in mind, here are five New Year’s Resolutions that any travel lover should strive to achieve in the coming year. Read more

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Travelling with a mental health condition

Travelling is one of life’s perks and can be hugely enjoyable, but when you have a mental health condition, travel can add to the challenges of arranging a trip abroad.

With one in four of us expected to experience some form of mental health condition throughout our lifetimes, it’s common for people to travel with one disorder or another.

From depression, anxiety, eating disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder, it’s important to remember that it’s all about planning well in order to ensure that your trip goes as smoothly as possible.

The team here at Insurancewith have compiled a handy travel checklist for you to read through before you embark on your trip:

  • Medication – As with any medical condition, if you’re on medication, make sure that you bring enough to cover the duration of your trip as well as extra just in case your transport is delayed, it becomes damaged or is lost. Also take into account the conditions that your medication will be travelling in i.e. humid climates or being on board a flight.
  • Doctor’s letter – If you’re travelling with medication, it’s important to also bring a doctor’s letter confirming the importance of the medicine and the consequences of not having them accessible or with you. Some medications are illegal in other countries without proof of prescription, so a doctor’s letter is essential should anything occur.
  • Doctor and prescription details – Make sure you include your doctor’s contact details and an explanation of your medical circumstances. This will come in useful should you need any treatment whilst abroad, as it can help any medical staff tending to you. If all of your medication becomes damaged or lost, having a copy of your prescription details will help you acquire further medication whilst abroad.
  • Identification – Having your hotel details, name and date of birth will come in useful should you find yourself lost or disorientated in an unfamiliar destination.
  • Travel insurance – Travel insurance is important for anyone thinking of travelling abroad. Your insurers will often specify that you notify them of any incident which occurs whilst on your trip, so having your documents packed will ensure you have contact and cover details to hand just in case you need to make a claim. To get a quote for travel insurance which can cover you for your mental health condition.
  • EHIC card – From 1st January 2021 rules around travel to Europe have changed, visit the Government website for up to date information on passports, EHIC, healthcare and more. We’ll update this page with more information as and when the Government release it.

Packing physical things isn’t the only thing you need to think about before travelling. Travel can be stressful at the best of times, so doing your research and preparing well can lower your stress levels and reduce the risk of any panic. Insurancewith recommends that you:

  • Talk to your doctor – seek advice from your doctor before you travel. They know both you and your condition better than most so will be able to give you travel advice, and extra medication if needs be.
  • Have a flexible itinerary – Rushing around sightseeing can be fun, especially if you’ve only got a tight window to do everything in, but often tiredness and stress can exacerbate mental health conditions. Make sure you take time to rest and do things at your own pace.
  • Avoid nasty surprises – knowing exactly what you’re doing with a well planned trip and itinerary is a sure way to avoid triggering stress. Going and doing familiar things can also help.
  • Research what you will do if something happens. Find out what the medical facilities are like abroad – not every country has the same level of mental health care as we do in the NHS. Factor this in when planning your trip and decide on an action plan for you and your companion should something happen. Research what mental health services are available in your destination, and decide who would help you if your mental health deteriorated abroad, and how would you contact them?
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