If you are in a wheelchair - Rome is possible but it is very hair raising. Cobblestones are enough to kill you. Tree roots. Crowds of people determined not to lose their place in the queue. Hills! Ancient sites do not do wheelchair accessible very well. Stepping out to cross a Roman street is always exciting - but when you have a down ramp on one gutter and no up ramp on the opposite gutter - woo woo! Here comes the Roman traffic and no way off the road!
Not a great deal of public toilets in Rome - mostly you have to use the gabinetti in the backs of cafes - very small! and hard to negotiate. Even for an abled person. Badly lit. Lights on time switches that go off suddenly.
One great thing - if you are in a wheelchair go straight to the front of any queue. A wheelchair is a queue buster - and I must say the guys who do the wheelchair accessible lifts are very very nice.
PS One thing it took me a while to notice. Carl was having a lot of trouble pushing Berni's chair - the pedestrians seemed to be leaping in front of the chair as he was trying to dodge them.
Everyone was getting very cranky. Then I twigged.
In Rome they drive on the wrong side of the road - and they walk on the wrong side of the footpath. So Carl and the on coming pedestrians were on a collision course.
It's possible to climb right to the top of the dome, but it is a very narrow and inclined circular passage. Don't attempt to turn around as its virtually impossible due to the number of visitors behind. Keep on going, but avoid if you suffer from vertigo or claustrophobia.
There are emergency alarm buttons at intervals, presumably to alert the Swiss Guard to someones plight. A certain fitness level is required, and it wasn't unusual to see several people looking quite exhausted and distressed on the route. I certainly didn't see any signs warning people of the possible exertions.
Rome is not the most disabled-friendly city largely due to the number of hills, raised pavements and cobbled streets. Buses are wheelchair-friendly whilst remaining public transport in Rome is partially accessible. Leading visitor attractions are mixed: a lift is provided to the top of the Colosseum, whilst the Vatican's Sistine Chapel is only accessible via the long route through the Vatican museums.
In these last 10 or 15 years Rome made a lot of works around the city to make places accessible to handicapped people. For sure museums and relics areas will be accessible, sidewalks, hotels and streets are accessible too, you may just find some problems in some old shops, hotels or restaurants. You may also have soe problems on some central streets whose pavements are typically ancient (SAN PIETRINI). But you will surely find people to help you.
If you have mobility problems be warned, Rome is the least disabled-friendly city I have visited so far
potholes and trees on the pavement, loose and sunken cobbles on the streets, high kerbs are all nightmares for wheelchair users
crossing the road is a nightmare ... if there is a ramp, and that ramp doesnt have a car parked across it, there is no guarantee that the opposite side of the road will have one too, you`ll discover this just as the traffic lights change and Rome`s traffic comes hurtling towards you
of course places are difficult to access, this is an ancient city and to make it totally wheelchair friendly would destroy some sites, but surely a smooth path would be possible in many places, and there is a real lack of toilet facilities, the only designated disabled toilets we saw are at the Colleseum
If you have some mobility the best way to see Rome in comfort is to get an overview from the top of a tourist bus, then to take a taxi to specific sites, of course this can work out expensive but a lot more comfortable
there is no need to queue when you are a wheelchair user, go directly to the entrance and you will be allowed straight in, I must say the staff at the sites we visited were very helpful and informative
In ancient times, there were no buggys and prams.
So, when laying the stones for the walkways in the city, this didn't have to be considered. For us modern folk this does pose a problem however.
The many steps, sharp inclines and cobbles make it quite hard (especially around the coliseum and forum areas) to get baby around in the pram.
So your two option are:
~ Carry baby (we had a back carry-thing, which was really helpful)
~ Carry the pram (with baby in it!)
Fun and games :)
It was all done in good spirits but did slow us down somewhat.