Our Venice - Part 1
Since we live in Italy and we do not have far to Venice, it is not too far that we have already visited this great city several times and of course want to report about our experiences in the lagoon city. On the internet there are already many interesting articles about Venice and also the many pictures are simply breathtaking. Before we went to Venice, we surfed and searched the internet. Thereby, we came across a lot of information, but also very scattered and want to try with our series about Venice to present the collected and also self-made experiences more clearly.
We hope it works out for us. If you have any suggestions, feel free to write something in the comments.
In our first part we report about the journey, which is already a challenge for many wheelchair users. Let's go!
Every foreign city, especially if your own language is not spoken there, is an adventure for everyone. For people in wheelchairs, the challenge is even greater in certain places. And this is probably especially true for Venice. Few people can imagine that Venice, with its many canals and bridges, can be visited with a wheelchair.
The principle of accessibility means that people with disabilities can use the means of transport and buildings without any particular difficulty and without outside help. From our perspective, Venice has implemented and done a lot here and despite the old building structure and the many canals and bridges, the city also offers many opportunities for wheelchair users.
Venice can be reached in 3 ways. By car, by train or by plane. For all possibilities we want to provide you here the compiled information.
Are there accessible trains in Italy?
The RFI (Italian railway network company) has, so to speak, the Role of the station manager. This includes the obligation to ensure the accessibility of stations for all departing, transiting and arriving citizens, with particular attention to disabled persons or persons with reduced mobility, as well as to provide appropriate assistance services at the station, to provide information and to progressively remove physical barriers.
So far so good.
The RFI offers all passengers on the various train lines and train operators who have a disability or reduced mobility the opportunity to plan their journey in advance and request assistance via SalaBlu.
The service of the RFI can booked directly by e-mail However, certain information must be passed on. It is therefore advisable to make the booking with an appropriate lead time.
The services include
- Reception at the station at the agreed meeting point, or, for arriving guests, at the seat occupied on the train.
- escort on board the departing train or from the arriving train to the exit of the station, or, for those continuing the journey, on board another train
- Provision of a wheelchair on request
- Upon request:
- Getting on and off the train with the help of a lifting platform for wheelchair users
- Possible hand luggage rack (1 piece of luggage)
Of course, the whole thing also depends a bit on the respective Train operators from. Information is available here on the respective websites of the providers:
Santa Lucia - The train station of Venice
Similar to the Stuttgart railway station, the Santa Lucia Station in Venice around a terminus station. Located directly in the northern part of Venice on the Grand Canal, it is a good starting point to explore Venice. However, the way is a little longer, as the historical centre of Venice with the Piazza San Marco is located in the south. It is about 45 minutes on foot through narrow, narrow streets and over numerous bridges.
As a means of transport to the city are therefore more suitable the Water taxis or the Waterbuses, the so-called Vaporetti, which is to the public Local transport ACTV belong.
Directly in front of the station are several Stops of the Vaporetti.
The platforms of the terminus station lead into the station building at ground level and without steps. The station is manageable due to its size and the individual paths are quickly sounded out. The water buses can be reached via the slightly higher forecourt of the station, but this is via a wide staircase. However, also here a barrier-free access was paid attention to and thus is on the right side after leaving the station a perfect ramp.
Immediately after the bridge that connects Venice to the mainland, there are 3 multi-storey car parkswhich are mainly used by tourists. Since Venice is car-free - at least most of the islands - everyone has to park their car here. This sometimes leads to a lot of turmoil and long waiting times at the parking garages. Thus, if one drives to Venice with one's own car, a lot of patience is needed right at the beginning of the trip.
Parking garage Tronchetto
Immediately the first parking garage directly behind the bridge is the Tronchetto, which can be seen from the bridge, which is about 4 km long and 1 m high. The Tronchetto is the newest and biggest parking garage. But it is also a little further up to the Piazzale Roma, that is why it is also the cheapest of the parking houses. As the Piazzale Roma offers the access to several water bus lines and many people have a direct destination in mind, it is the best place to park. probably the most popular and best known starting point for visiting Venice.
The parking garage is relatively new and well equipped. So there are in the 5-storey parking garage on each parking deck various elevators that bring you down to the ground floor. Through the barrier-free exit you get without stairs directly to the Stop of the waterbus line 2with which one can drive without problems in the direction of Venice.
Autorimessa car park
The Autorimessa car park is located right next to the
Piazzale Roma and is close to the center of Venice. Due to the more central location, the parking garage is also a lot more expensive. (However, there is a discount for people with disabilities).
The parking garage is reached after the 4 km long bridge from the mainland. Immediately after that the road crosses a small bridge again and just after the bridge you will find the car park on the right hand side.
Normally, tourists are often directed to the parking decks 9 and 10 and thus into the blazing sun, as the remaining floors are reserved for commuters and long-term parkers.
However, there is the possibility for people with an EU disabled person's card to get a parking space in this car park. Pitch to reservewhich on the one hand is inexpensive and on the other hand is located in the lower floors of the parking garage.
So you can free of charge for 12 hours in the parking garage parking. However, it is necessary to announce and confirm the arrival in advance. Since there are only a certain number of spaces reserved for wheelchair users, it is also possible that these are occupied without prior reservation.
In the parking garage itself, there is an elevator on each floor, which brings you down to the ground floor. Since the parking garage is a bit older, the ramps at the doors, which were not yet barrier-free at the time, are sometimes a bit wobbly and a bit steeper. Nevertheless, one finds the way through the parking garage without encountering stairs.
But once arrived at the exit, one gets a short fright, as a stairway leads down to the Piazzale Roma.
However, there is a barrier-free detour: for this, you drive back at the exit on the left side of the parking garage until you reach the entrance through which you entered the parking garage by car. Here, turn right onto the pedestrian path and you can drive without steps in the direction of Piazzale Roma.
Directly in front of the parking garage on the opposite side of the street is a small house with a red tiled roof. Here are the Sales counter of the ACTV. Behind the cottage, a ramp leads down to the vaporetti.
The Piazzale Roma (Ple Roma) is located on the north end of the Grand Canal. From here you can reach the historic center with the Vaporetto 1 and 2. However, this is a very leisurely ride, as the vaporetti in the city area are only allowed to drive 5 Km/h. Thus, one has all the time of the world to have a look at Venice from the water bus and to let it have an effect on oneself. Since the line 2 stops only at a few stops, one reaches with this faster the center.
2 airports to choose from
Even if most people associate Venice with the Treviso Airport connect, but this is located quite far outside and does not actually belong to Venice. Here land, for example, low-cost airlines such as Ryanair. The actual airport of Venice is however the Marco Polo Airport. This is located on the mainland, about 15 km north of Venice.
From Marco Polo Airport to the city centre
Buses depart from the airport to the Station Mestre and the Piazzale Roma an. Unfortunately, most public buses are not barrier-free, as they are often coaches and are not accessible by wheelchair. The Aerobus line no. 5 goes to Piazzale Roma and is barrier-free. These buses have a ramp if needed, so you can easily get on.
The street taxis can also be used in case of doubt. However, these must be reserved online in advance.
Not possible is the transport with the so-called AliLaguna - waterboats and with the water taxis from the airport. According to our information, the shared taxis do not take wheelchair users. Private taxis only offer transport for wheelchair users from Piazzale Roma, but not at the airport.
From Teviso airport to the city centre
Treviso Airport is located - as the name suggests - near the town of Treviso. This lies about 40 km from Venice away. There is the possibility to reach the train stations Venice Mestre or Venice Santa Lucia. However, this is quite a way by public transport.
One option is definitely the taxi.
There are also various buses from the airport to Venice, most of which are not barrier-free. The train station Mestre and Piazzale Roma can be reached with the public transport of the ATVO.
According to the information on the homepage of the ATVO, the buses are equipped with a lift depending on the model and some models even have space for more than one wheelchair. Directly at the buses are usually staff, which you can ask in case of doubt. This is especially true for the Airport Express from Treviso to Venice - Piazzale Roma.
Public transport in Venice
Scheduled boats (Vaporetti)
These are usually equipped barrier-free and sometimes have a separate entrance for wheelchair users and a reserved place on board. As a rule, boarding works in such a way that you first go onto a kind of "pre-boat", which serves as a waiting room and has a reserved place on board. extra waiting area for wheelchair users has. Gradually, the various lines that serve this stop dock at these waiting boats and, depending on the height difference of the vaporetti to the waiting boat, a ramp is created by the staff so that one can transfer to the water bus relatively easily - sometimes with push assistance for manual wheelchairs.
Thanks to the ACTV tickets, you can quickly find the right line to get from one place to another.
So familiarizing yourself with it is definitely advisable. The Vaporetti are for wheelchair users the main means of transport in Venice.
Often, after some confusion through the alleys, one stands in front of a bridge and cannot reach the object of desire from the side with the wheelchair.
Here, a vaporetto is the solution. With these, one can moor at a stop that approaches the sight that one would like to visit from the other side and thus can be reached without a bridge.
A gondola ride through Venice is for many the HIGHLIGHT of a visit to Venice. Best of course at dusk and with few other boats and tourists on the canals. And for couples who want to enjoy a little romance, it's the to-do anyway.
For a long time it was not possible to take the wheelchair on the gondolas and nobody wants to leave it behind at the pier.
Since 2016, thanks to the initiative of Gondolas4all, barrier-free gondolas in Venice. This means that people with disabilities can also use this traditional Venetian means of transport without having to sit around.
In order to ensure access, the first wheelchair accessible pier for gondolas was built by the initiative. This is located at the "Transport hub" Piazzale Roma. That the Piazzale Roma is located a bit "outside" is a bit of a shame, but the initiative received a lot of attention. The pier was even ceremoniously opened in 2016. At the pier itself was a Lift built in, so that you can change to the gondolas.
As first the gondoliers had to be trained in the use of the lift, the first rides were only possible some time after the opening.
Meanwhile, it is possible to book a barrier-free gondola via the homepage of Gondolas4all:
A few more impressions
Access to the waterboats
Bridges in Venice