The eternal city is not famous for its accessibility, but a lot of work has been done in the last twenty years, although we’re still far from calling Rome “wheelchair friendly.” Main problems are hills (Rome is also known as the “seven hills town”), cobblestones (that we call “sanpietrini”), and lack of accessible transports. However, I think that people in wheelchairs can enjoy many wonderful days here if they choose a central accommodation in order to avoid using Metro to reach the main attractions (city center stops are not accessible). Today the most of the buses show the wheelchair logo and they have electric ramps, so you can use them instead of taxis that are very expensive in Rome.
The most popular museums and galleries are now accessible, for example the big MAXXI that is the newest museum in town, or the Ara Pacis, the MACRO, the Galleria Nazionale and many others. Generally, museum admission is free for both disabled people and helper.
Some archeological sites are accessible too, like the Colosseo that has a lift suitable for wheelchairs, the Terme of Caracalla, the Palatino, and the Domus Aurea. Nonetheless, I suggest visiting them with a helper (I’ve already advised about hills and stones). The Pantheon is accessible using the short available ramps and once inside you’ll have no problems. Saint Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums (where you can admire the Cappella Sistina painted by Michelangelo) are fully accessible through alternative routes and staff will help you if needed.
The magnificent Fori Imperiali is not accessible due to large cobblestones that are nearly impossible to roll over, however you can enjoy them from the upper level as the most of the romans do. You can also take the new lifts that go up to the Vittoriano terrace, which are accessible and offer an astounding view of the Fori and of the whole town.
And being on a wheelchair does not prevent you from admiring the wonderful piazzas, like Piazza Navona, Piazza del Popolo, Piazza Venezia, and Campo de Fiori or the nice parks as Villa Borghese, Villa Celimontana, Villa Torlonia, Villa Pamphili and Villa Ada.
In Rome we have summer from May to October, so every restaurant has outdoor seating in a garden or most commonly in the street where there are not steps to worry about. Public toilets are few, but you can find a lot of Mc Donald’s in town that have accessible ones. Or you can take a coffee and use bar toilets around the town but not all are suitable for wheelchairs.
I’ve told you about cobblestones: they cover all the city center area and their presence requires a helper if you are on a manual wheelchair, especially in the Trastevere area, but the main street Via del Corso is flat and it goes from Piazza Venezia to Piazza del Popolo. Going out from the city center allows you to avoid these stones. You can visit the typical quarters of Testaccio and Garbatella, the bohemian Pigneto, and the EUR where you can see a live example of fascist architecture.
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I just went on a business trip to Rome and had a few free days to explore. I found it reasonable to get around by myself. Pushing the cobblestones was not that bad, finding curb cutouts was fun at times but it got you to explore more. Most of the toilets had a wide hole to sit on and either no toilet seat or a toilet seat the same size as the hole. Such a wide hole that I would fall in if I tried to sit on it. I loved this city and cant wait to go back to… Read more »