Monica Gambarotto
Article by Monica Gambarotto

Venice without Barriers: an Itinerary for All

 
Strolling around Venice…
Strolling around Venice…

Venice is a city on the water, full of glows, stunning details, and definitely full of bridges…

I have always wondered how frustrating it can be for a person on a wheelchair, or for someone blind or visually impaired, to visit this marvellous city…

Nonetheless I think that our city should be admired by everyone, regardless of one’s specific characteristics…

Thanks to the peculiar initiative and foresight of the association Best Venice Guides, of which I am honoured to be a member, I have recently had the possibility to attend some courses that have brought me in close touch with the world of disability: national and international associations have made available for a group of Tourist Guides their competence and experience… I have really entered their multifaceted reality.

St. Mark’s Square bound… with all the senses!

One of the places that every guest wants to visit upon their first arrival in Venice is for sure St. Mark’s Square. On private or public transport (there are some water taxis, for instance, specialised in the transportation of different types of wheelchairs, but also the crew of the public transport is well prepared to take care of people with motor disabilities), you can reach Riva degli Schiavoni, from where it takes just an easy walk for you to reach the Square, thanks to the ramps on the bridges along the quay. These ramps make the walk easy not only for the guests on a wheelchair, but also for the blind and the visually impaired… well, actually for everyone!

Ramps on a Bridge along Facilitated steps on Ponte della Paglia
Facilitated steps on Ponte della Paglia
Facilitated steps on Ponte della Paglia
Facilitated steps on Ponte della Paglia

But along the way isn’t there anything else that is worth it to be admired?

Quite a few visitors, hurrying up towards the heart of Venice, don’t even think of the possibility to “dive” into the narrow alleys and passages that open up along the quay…

Let us venture, for example, to Campo San Giovanni in Bragora: the church and the buildings that surround this place really deserve a visit! It is a campo full of history and of legends, that we can relive together…

Why is one of the narrow alleys that start from this place named Calle della Morte (Alley of Death)? And why do we find not far from here a red heart inserted in a brick wall? With our eyes, and with our hands as well, we will be able to admire fascinating details, and thanks to a number of tales we will relive events, emotions, atmospheres of the past centuries…

Campo San Giovanni in Bragora
Campo San Giovanni in Bragora
Orio and Melusina’s heart
Orio and Melusina’s heart

Then we can take a look at Fondamenta degli Ormesini, towards the area of the Greek community, and we can talk in general about the foreign communities in Venice…

Fondamenta dell’Osmarin
Fondamenta dell’Osmarin

…and then we can enter Campo San Zaccaria, characterised by a church which is half gothic and half in renaissance style, and next to it we will find a former convent: the ladies who lived here were frequently forced by their families to become nuns, and their behaviour here was not always sinless… but this would go along with the particularly frivolous and libertine Venetian society, especially in the 1700’s.

Campo San Zaccaria
Campo San Zaccaria
Detail of the well
Detail of the well
The nuns’ parlour at San Zaccaria (painting by Francesco Guardi)
The nuns’ parlour at San Zaccaria (painting by Francesco Guardi)

And Finally… the Square!

Between one digression and another, we then reach St. Mark’s Square: in front of us, a riot of colours and of glows, unusual wide spaces for such a small city like Venice, and a lot of sounds, noises, smells. With our sight, hearing and senses of smell and touch it will be possible to perceive the real heartbeat of the core of the Most Serene Republic: the Doges’ Palace with its massive columns, St. Mark’s Basilica with its mosaics, the Clock Tower with the two Moors that strike the hour with their hammers, the festive bells of the Bell Tower… and also reliefs, protrusions, details that can be touched, and the good smell of coffee coming out from the historical cafes…

St. Mark’s Square
St. Mark’s Square
The Clock Tower
The Clock Tower
Detail of a bas-relief
Detail of a bas-relief

This is the perfect place where we can talk about the history of our city, where to evoke glorious or miserable events that will ideally take us back to the past centuries…

I do not want to anticipate anything, though: this is an experience that you should really live in first person!

Have I forgotten to take into consideration one of the five senses? Obviously not! Taste is a sense that acquires a special value in Venice, allowing us to “savour” the city: a cup of coffee with a typical treat, os some cicheti (appetizers) in one of the traditional places called bacari, will definitely leave an indelible sign, making your experience in this magical place unique.

A historical cafe
A historical cafe
Cicheti in a bacaro 
Cicheti in a bacaro

 

Such a visit can be adapted to everybody: the elder, the cognitively impaired, the deaf… all of you can visit the most iconic places in Venice and get great pleasure out of it: we have to focus on your different necessities, with competence and passion! And with no hurry…

I’ll be waiting for you!

Monica Gambarotto
BestVeniceGuides.it
www.guidedtoursinvenice.com/

if interested in a tour with Monica please contact her via mail monica.gambarotto@gmail.com