Advanced search

Rome... With kids... and special needs... am I mad?

(6 Posts)
ToffeeLatteplease Mon 19-Jan-15 22:24:59

Kids are doing Romans. I would love for them to see the remains first hand and have idlely wondering if it might be possible.

Travelling would be 2-3 adults and 2 children aged 8 and 9. I would like to do pompeii at the same time either by day trip or maybe flying into rome and out of naples

It's made more complex by the fact DS has SN. He can walk but finds it hard and on holiday would mainly use a wheelchair. So I would look for somewhere wheelchair accessible, walking distance to the main attractions and that has a shower. (Bus or overground would be manageable but underground is just a hassle.) I think self catering would probably work best

Has anyone done it? Did the kids love it? Was it worth it? Also any recommendations on where to stay?

wasoncearacergirl Wed 21-Jan-15 07:19:48

i can see no one is leaping in to encourage you on this one! it might come down to budget, having a tour guide and a vehicle and doing it in style, or just walking everywhere and hope its not too hot or wet. for me the biggest hurdle in Rome is the weather and the traffic. also a lot of accomodation is up dodgy little stair cases. so poss a big hotel with proper entrance and lift and concierge to arrange taxi etc might be better. or go somewhere smaller, there are roman remains in France and Spain, pont du guard, taragona, zaragoza, or even dorset.

Gandolfo Thu 22-Jan-15 20:47:42

Hi Toffee, not mad or impossible but it maybe needs a bit of thought! I don't have any experience of being with a wheelchair user in Rome, but I live near and go quite a lot with DS age 9, so may be able to help a bit. Firstly, I am sure they would enjoy it - it is a great city for a few days, especially if they are interested in the history of it.

As regards getting around in general, I would plan for walking, with perhaps the occasional taxi if necessary. Buses are OK, usually plenty of them and not too expensive, but they are often very crowded, especially if they go through the main tourist areas, it would be very difficult to get on and off with a wheelchair. Walking should be OK, some pavements can be very narrow though, but there are lots of streets in central Rome that are virtually traffic free, running alongside the ones packed with cars. They are usually cobbled so that might be a bit difficult, but not impossible I would think. Lots of sights are also almost are all traffic free, e.g., Piazza Navona, Campo de' Fiori, Spanish Steps, area around the Coliseum, Trastevere area.

More specifically some of the sights you may want to see - which I think your DCs would really enjoy -
Coliseum - has a lift from the ground floor to the upper levels, so should be no problem at all, it is also a fairly easy walk there from the centre - not far at all.
Roman Forum - has steep slopes down into it, but I don't think any steps, and it is not too far to walk. Some parts of it may not be accessible to you but the main bits would be.
Baths of Caracalla - I think all on one level so very easy to get around, but probably too far to walk from centre - but the archeobus stops there
Mouth of Truth - just one step to go down into it, a bit of a walk up hill though back into the centre
Trajan's Markets - I am not sure about this one, I think it is accessible - I don't remember any steps but possibly some steep slopes.

There is also a great new display of Gladiators helmets etc., under the piazza Navona, in the ruins of the old stadium. I think that has access and is really interesting (if you are interested I will find out the name and you can check).

If you DS can walk up to the top deck of a bus they would probably enjoy the Archeobus, it takes you outside the city and is a really interesting trip (better on the top as it is open top). Likewise a trip around the centre on the open top bus may be a good idea.

Instead of going to Pompeii, which is huge and not easy to walk around have you thought about a trip to Ostia Antica - the old Roman Port? It is very much easier to get to, only about 25 minutes on the train from Rome, and really interesting - DS enjoyed it just as much as Pompeii and I think it is probably more accessible once you get there. For getting there though I would check it out, going on the train there are some steps, and you have to cross a road bridge but I'm sure there are other ways to get there.

Finally, I wouldn't consider going it July and August if you can avoid it - it is usually just too hot to walk around.

Sorry - this is a bit long - but hope it helps a bit

Bunbaker Thu 22-Jan-15 23:17:25

I would forget Pompeii. It isn't wheelchair friendly and it is massive. The ground is very uneven with big stones and they make a point of recommending that visitors wear comfortable footwear.

mdpis3 Thu 22-Jan-15 23:38:16

DD (nearly 7) has cerebral palsy and autism. Pompeii was an absolute nightmare. We knew it would be but we've always had the mantra that she goes where we go and if the wheelchair can't, we carry her. Pompeii broke us. And we have carried her all over the world so weren't novices.

Rome was somewhat more accessible but there are very different laws in Europe in relation to accessibility and Italy seems to have it's own again. We've been twice and neither time worked. Both with an expensive tour guide who just looked after us (if your DC is a blue badge holder you will be able to enter some places via the exit instead of the entrance but an understanding of Italian helps) and independently, we have decided that Rome is not a place for our DD. We were fascinated but it did nothing for her, it was incredibly hard work and we are a family who are used to full time wheelchair usage etc

As a general rule I tell everyone, regardless of disability, to do everything they can to see/do/experience but we, personally, wouldn't do Rome or Pompeii again with our disabled child.

badgerknowsbest Thu 22-Jan-15 23:43:29

Just want to second that a trip to Ostia antica would be a good idea. For some reason there were hardly any tourists when we went there, but it is definitely worth a visit if your visiting Rome.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now