Encouragement for a trip to Italy and beyond

From a Community Member:

My family is considering a trip to Italy (2024) for the closing ceremony of the Olympics. We would then travel to a couple other countries.

My oldest has Cerebral Palsy and utilizes a power wheelchair. My husband is having second thoughts because of this.

Might you have any suggestions and tips to help encourage us? I’m thinking this will be one of her few, or only, opportunities to travel abroad.

Thanks for your help!

I’m also in power chair. Easier said than done is my thought. My dream would be to travel further away but logistics are VERY tough. I’m sure it has and can be done but I’m one that likes assurance first too. Good luck and I hope you can get it worked out.

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We took my son with CP to northern Italy a few years ago. It was a wonderful trip but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t difficult. Our son loved it! A couple of things I can give you. Venice is beautiful but a very non-accessible city. There were supposed to be lifts at some bridges none of which worked. The only thing you can depend on are sites along the grand canal that have stops on the boat/bus public transportation. This includes St Marks square which is the main attraction. Many churches and museums have an elevator in a back entrance but not always easy to find. I would recommend staying at chain hotels, including European ones, as they seem more likely to have accessible rooms. Once you get to a city, always be making note of restaurants you can get in the front door. Italy was easier than France for us as many didn’t have a step or two to get in the front door.

I hope you choose to go. It will be worth the extra work.

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It is my understanding that the 2024 Olympics will be in France. That said, my husband and I took a trip to France and Italy this past Fall. I have multiple sclerosis, and getting around with more limited mobility was a learning experience.
Maneuvering with limited mobility outside ones home can be challenging no matter where you travel. But, as many of you know, it can be done.
My lesson was to swallow my pride and use whatever works.
If this helps, Paris is considered one of the most accommodating cities in Europe. They have very stringent policies and processes for providing access for the disabled.
In France, they issue special i.d. to those whose are certified as disabled. But, I learned that if your disability is visible, they will provide the same service (i.e., reduced or free METRO fares for the disabled and caregiver, front-of-line access for attractions and public bathrooms, etc). All of the city buses are wheelchair accessible, but not all of the METRO stations. However, they were in the process of retrofitting more escalators for the METRO in Paris.
Italy does not have comparable stringent policies for accommodating the disabled, but they attempt whatever they can. In Vatican City, the Colosseum, and other attractions, there are special tours for those with mobility issues.
I enjoyed both places. Have a great trip!

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If your focus is on the games at least those should be reasonably accessible given the Paralympics are held here the next week (or two weeks?). Heck – I’d be far more interested in seeing any of the actual paralympic competition than anything else – world class olympians with disabilities.

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Florence is a great city because there is so much to do within walking distance. Venice has a terrible place for power wheelchairs(too many bridges with stairs, too many accessible boats to get from here to there, too many tourists in the limited space that a wheelchair can get around). Rome has tons of accessible things to choose from as previous writer has stated. Milan is eclectic and modern suiting to accessibility and it’s the nearest big Italian city to Paris.

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