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Travel Guide to Accessible Wonders of the Vatican City and surroundings for disabled visitors

Accessible entrances, rooms, and restrooms of Vatican Museums, St. Peter's Basilica, Castel Sant'Angelo, and Borgo Pio

Travel Guide to Accessible Vatican: how to navigate it in a wheelchair

22 July 2024

Travel Tips

In the Heart of Rome stands a Center of Spirituality and Beauty: The Vatican. Within its walls, this state encompasses priceless artistic masterpieces and treasures of faith, guiding visitors on an unforgettable journey through the centuries. The Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica are unmissable stops on your Roman exploration, as are the surrounding areas outside the Vatican's borders, including Castel Sant'Angelo and Borgo Pio. Over the years, the capital has made significant efforts to ensure that accessible Rome tours can be conducted with ease; the same, of course, applies to Vatican City and its artistic treasures. In this article, we will guide you through the accessible attractions of the Vatican and its surroundings to provide you with a comprehensive overview of places that can be visited by wheelchair users.

Public Transportation

The Vatican, the heart of Christianity and home to the Pope, welcomes millions of visitors from around the world each year. For many, reaching this sacred place is a dream come true. However, for people with disabilities, planning the trip can be more complex, especially in terms of mobility. The area of interest that includes the Vatican Museums, St. Peter's Basilica, Castel Sant'Angelo, and Borgo Pio can be reached by public transportation, such as buses, trams, and the metro, or by private transportation, such as taxis or Ubers. Most public transportation is accessible; however, for taxis and Ubers, it is necessary to book vehicles suitable for transporting people with disabilities.

Accessibility of the Vatican and Surroundings

Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museums house one of the largest and most important art collections in the world, and with over 70,000 works of art, they offer a fascinating journey through history, art, and culture. The Museums are committed to making their collections accessible to everyone. Admission is free for visitors with disabilities greater than 74%, extendable to the companion in case of non-self-sufficiency. In addition, it is possible to skip the line for faster and more comfortable access. Tickets, in this case, cannot be purchased online, but only at the "special permits" counters of the entrance located to the right of the main entrance, equipped with a special ramp. The Vatican Museums also offer a free wheelchair rental service (until supplies last) and numerous accessible toilets. Inside the museums, most of the routes in the halls of the various collections have been made accessible.

In any case choosing an accessible Vatican Museums tour could be the ideal solution to fully immerse yourself in the treasures of the Vatican without worries.

St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter's Basilica, located in the Vatican, is considered the center of Catholic Christianity and is a masterpiece of Renaissance and Baroque architecture. The Basilica is easily accessible by wheelchair thanks to a privileged entrance, equipped with a ramp, located on the right side of St. Peter's Square. The interior space is very large and the floor is smooth and even, therefore it does not present any architectural barriers. In addition, there are accessible toilets inside the Basilica.

Castel Sant'Angelo

Commissioned by Emperor Hadrian as a funeral monument where his ashes were kept, Castel Sant'Angelo is an iconic symbol of Rome, a must-see place for those who want to deepen their knowledge of the past of the Eternal City and admire one of its most evocative monuments. Castel Sant'Angelo has a flat entrance suitable for people with reduced mobility. The visit inside the museum is only partially accessible, as some paths may present architectural barriers. However, wheelchair users can access the various levels of the structure thanks to an elevator. In this case too, the toilets are accessible to people with disabilities.

Borgo Pio

Borgo Pio, located between the Vatican walls and Castel Sant'Angelo, is a neighborhood known for its picturesque streets and traditional Roman atmosphere. It is popular with locals and tourists for its authentic restaurants, artisan gelaterias, and small boutiques. The streets of the neighborhood are mostly wide and with regular sidewalks, making it easy to get around on foot. In addition, there are several ramps and slides that allow you to overcome differences in height and get onto the sidewalks.

In short, exploring the Vatican and its surroundings offers an experience rich in spirituality and beauty. Through the Vatican Museums, St. Peter's Basilica, Castel Sant'Angelo, and Borgo Pio, visitors are immersed in a unique journey through centuries of history and art. Thanks to the efforts to make these wonders accessible, people with disabilities can enjoy this experience without mobility worries. With the accessibility of public transport and the facilities offered at the sites of interest, the discovery experience becomes accessible to everyone, helping to make Rome and the Vatican inclusive and welcoming destinations for all visitors.

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