Easter weekend for barrier-free holidays: 4 super-accessible Italian cities
03 March 2023
The 'Milan for all' project and the map of barrier-free itineraries
Milan is the most international city in Italy. It's the hub of business and of events that attract visitors from all over the world, from Fashion Week to Design Week. Not least for this reason, it has been trying for years to ensure accessibility through various projects. One of the most important is 'Milano per tutti' (Milan for everyone), promoted by the city council in partnership with a number of Lombard associations. Together, they have created a series of pedestrian pathways suitable for people with disabilities. So for the Easter weekend, the metropolis is open to everyone.
You can easily explore the centre, parking in Piazza Fontana or Piazza Diaz in the spaces reserved for visitors with disabilities, and then wander through the pedestrian area from Piazza Duomo to Castello Sforzesco. This is the heart of the city, with the famous Cathedral, the Palazzo Reale and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, the Museo del Novecento, Piazza dei Mercanti and the Biblioteca Pinacoteca Ambrosiana. Also starting from Piazza Duomo, you can head to Via Torino towards the Colonne di San Lorenzo and the Basilica of the same name, and then take Corso di Porta Ticinese, staying on the right-hand pavement, the widest one, to arrive at the Darsena.
When visiting the Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie with the Cenacolo Vinciano, it is advisable to park on the blue lines in Via Paleocapa. The Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio has ramp entrances on the left side as well as a stair lift. Corso Como and the modern Piazza Gae Aulenti are also pedestrianised and accessible. From the latter it is possible to go down to the ground floor in a lift with acoustic warnings. And when it comes to shopping, all the town centre shops are accessible, as is the La Rinascente department store, which has lifts.
In the Belluno area, discovering mountain trails also suitable for people with disabilities
If you fancy spending the Easter weekend in the mountains, head for the area in the province of Belluno, where accessibility, also in light of the Milan Cortina 2026 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, is increasingly in the spotlight.
The Assi (Associazione Sociale Sportiva Invalidi - Sports Association for People with Disabilities) has mapped accessible itineraries and facilities as part of the project “Vengo anch'io nelle Dolomiti bellunesi” (“I'm coming to the Belluno Dolomites too”), which can be downloaded as an app. The other, similar project is called “La montagna per tutti. Accessibilità e inclusione sui sentieri della Valbelluna e nei fondivalle dolomitici” (Mountains for all. Accessibility and inclusion on the trails of the Valbelluna and the Dolomite valley basins).
There are a total of 14 nature trails for people with disabilities, that can be travelled by any means, including wheelchairs, and they are classified according to degree of difficulty and facilities. You can wander through the woods or enjoy outdoor sports, opting to start from the specially designated locations: from the Feltrino area to Val Visdende, from Alpago to Agordino, from Valbelluna to Cadore. Trail brochures are distributed in the tourist offices of the participating areas.
Reggio Emilia, the accessible city, from the station to the historic centre
“Reggio Emilia, City Without Barriers” is the name of the project launched by the Emilian municipality to open the city's doors to all visitors. It begins with the futuristic and accessible Mediopadana High-Speed Station by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. From here you can reach the city by bus or taxi.
The historical centre is surrounded by walls, and all of its streets are accessible to all. You can easily visit the city's treasures: the Duomo and Baptistery, Palazzo del Monte and Palazzo del Capitano del popolo, the Torre del Bordello and the Church of Santo Stefano. As many as 65 establishments, such as shops, bars and restaurants, have been provided with ramps, and Binario 49, a literary café, is equipped with full facilities. Visit the Panizzi Library, with wheelchair platforms and a space dedicated to children and young people with communication difficulties; many books are tactile or in Braille. Outside the ancient walls, conclude your visit by heading to Piazza Fontanesi, which has recently been restored to accommodate people with disabilities.
In Syracuse, amidst inclusive museums and beaches
In the city of Syracuse, the Archimedes and Leonardo Museum in Ortigia has made accessibility its mission, thanks to wheelchair platforms, permission for the blind to touch the works, and Italian Sign Language translations. This type of route is also available in the Cathedral.
At Easter, the island is already feeling the summer heat, and Syracuse - together with the Region of Sicily - has launched the Mare per tutti (Sea for Everyone) project, which includes 40 beach facilities, equipped to accommodate people with disabilities. There are many access points for exploring the Marine Protected Area without any difficulty, from Traversa Renella to Via Vivaldi, while the Sbarcadero beach provides free J.O.B. beach wheelchairs, as does Arenella beach.