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Barrier Free Museums of the Vatican and Eternal City

It’s not always easy for people with disabilities to gain access to museums or landmarks and many may not even be aware that they can benefit from free entry. For a more effortless experience, let’s overview the top museums that offer free priority entry, assistance and suitably developed tours in celebration of inclusion.

The Vatican Museums

In accordance with the core beliefs of the Vatican, the Museums are open to all, although guided tours are not wheelchair accessible due to standardized itineraries, upon request and thanks to assistance from the Guard Corps an itinerary map of all the facilitated areas has been developed. Free entry with skip the line priority is available for those that have certified invalidity of more than 74% and for those that require the assistance of another, the Vatican extends the free entry to a companion as well. To benefit from the free entry, the certificate of invalidity must be presented at the Special Permits and/or Reception desk of the Vatican Museums.
The Museum cloakroom offers free wheelchair hire for those who require it and it can be requested by presenting a valid id and deposit. Besides traditional wheelchairs, the museums also offer mobility scooters and electric wheelchair although in some areas access will not be permitted. The Vatican Gardens are fully accessible and a specialized tour can be booked individually or in groups by contacting the Vatican Museums Services and Public Relations Office at least a week in advance. As for accessible restrooms, the Museums are perfectly equipped. To reach the Sistine Chapel, a wheelchair ramp is available. Faithful to its compassionate values, the Vatican has extended accessibility to Blind and Deaf visitors as well by developing suitable free tours that are available upon request.  The Vatican Museums staff is carefully attentive towards those with disabilities and strongly supports promoting free visits for those who qualify.

The Colosseum

The ancient amphitheater is surprisingly accessible for disabled visitors, a wheelchair ramp can be accessed at the entrance for easy entry and the inside of the Colosseum has a smooth surface. To reach the upper level, you will have to take an elevator and thankfully those available are spacious. The Colosseum also has accessible restrooms, one located on the outside and one inside. The underground level is not accessible due to stairs and cobblestone surfaces. Routes and access ramps for the disabled have been developed and are marked by signs. Free entry with skip the line priority is made available by the Colosseum to certified disabled visitors and their companion upon request. This free ticket may also be booked from the official website in advance. As for the other parts of Ancient Rome area, the Roman Forum is tough to navigate due to uneven surfaces but an elevator for the disabled is available from the Via dei Fori Imperiali entrance and some parts of the forum have been rendered accessible, as for the Palatine Hill is requires a lot of effort due to cobblestones, uneven surfaces and gravel so make sure you bring plenty of water and assistance if you are set on visiting it.

Museo Nazionale Romano - Palazzo Massimo alle Terme

Amazingly, this museum is fully accessible as each collection as the entry features a wheelchair accessible door and by accessing it you will be welcomed by the staff that will accompany you to get your free ticket. Beautifully curated, you will find all the collections are accessible by wheelchair and a whole universe of Ancient Art is awaiting your discovery, including the world-renowned “Boxer at Rest” Greek bronze sculpture and the marble “Dying Niobid”. Boasting a vast collection of Greek and Roman sculptures, frescoes, roman coins and jewelry, this museum is located next to Termini station and it is one of the most beautiful museums in Italy featuring a staff that is highly professional.

The Capitoline Museum

Located in Piazza del Campidoglio that was designed by Michelangelo at the commission of the Farnese Pope Paul III, the Capitoline Museum was founded in 1471 making it one of the oldest national museums in the world. The iconic “She Wolf” and “Capitoline Venus” can be admired among its collections of art, sculptures, coins and jewelry. This museum has beautifully adapted to those with disabilities and its staff is always ready to assist anyone in need. It is advisable to call in and notify about the visit in order to allow the staff to tend to your request. Ramps, elevators and accessible bathrooms are available in this museum.

Borghese Gallery

To explore the Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo in-depth, visit the Borghese Gallery, located in a magnificent park that will make you feel as it you stepped out of time somehow despite being in one of the central areas of the Eternal City. Bernini’s "Apollo and Daphne" and "David" and Raphael's "Lady with a Unicorn" are among the masterpieces you will admire, Titian, Canova and Caravaggio are all featured in this gallery. This museum offers free entry and guided tours for those with certified disabilities but the elevator cannot contain large wheelchairs, for this reason the museums has wheelchairs available for use. To book all of this for your visit you can call in and request assistance. The museums tend this dedicated attention to those sufferings from physical impairments as well as mental disabilities. Best of all, you can spend a whole day enjoying the relaxing, beautiful gardens that surround the gallery.

The listed museums offer not only free entry with priority admission and careful assistance but also a wealth of beauty to explore so make sure you enjoy it fully and, if you feel like it, share your pictures, advice and comments with us. We will share them with our blog readers and with the mentioned museums for a culturally enriching experience as well as an improvement of accessibility with the help of your feedback.


23rd Aug 2019