Venice gets first wheelchair-friendly gondolas
Posted on 16/03/2016

SocietyItaly

Twitter Facebook 11 shares

With its cobbled streets and stepped bridges, Venice is far from wheelchair-friendly. But the famous city of canals is hoping to become more accessible to all...

Despite its reputation as a navigational nightmare, the allure of Venice proves too strong for the many wheelchair users who visit the city every year. Now, two gondoliers are hoping to make their visits more accessible with the installation of ramps and lifts to the city's gondolas.

gondolas4all

gondolas4all
LUIGI COSTANTINI / ASSOCIATED PRESS

The new private-public project, known as gondolas4all, was dreamed up by gondoliers Alessandro Dalla Pieta and Enrico Greifenberg, who have been in the business for two decades.

Over the years, says Alessandro, they've seen "people in wheelchairs dozens of times looking at us as if we were the last Coca-Cola in the desert. It tugged at my heart."

The special jetty, created by gondolas4all, uses an automatic lift to help manouevre wheelchairs into the hull of the gondola in the most controlled way possible.

The city's first access point was unveiled on Friday, with the service due to start in full in six weeks time from the Piazzale Roma, near to the entrance of the city. Gondoliers will be given full training on operating the lifts and ramps before they are put into use.

Visitors wishing to book a ride will be able to do so at the usual tariffs from the project's website. Users will be given full flexibilty on their route through the canals, selecting from a diverse range of itineraries and points of interest.

PLANNING A TRIP?

When is the best time to visit Venice?
Compare flights to Venice
Find hotels in Venice