ABOVE: From Venice Marco Polo Airport, Alilaguna
airport boats make it easy to reach hotels that are accessible on level ground
from the San Marco Giardinetti water bus stop (orange and blue icons).
By Durant Imboden
isn't the most convenient city for travelers in wheelchairs, or for slow
walkers who find it difficult to manhandle suitcases up and down the steps of
footbridges. (The city has more than 400 bridges in its historic center, and few
of those bridges have ramps.)
To make matters worse, most Venice hotels are in
renovated palazzi and other buildings that were built hundreds of years
ago, before "accessibility" or "accessibilità" became part of the
For disabled or mobility-impaired travelers, there are two things to look for
when selecting a hotel in Venice:
A location that makes it easy to reach the sights, over level ground or
by vaporetto (public water bus).
A hotel that is reasonably barrier-free, has an elevator big enough for
wheelchairs, and makes a serious effort to accommodate disabled guests.
In this article, we've listed a number of hotels in Venice's
centro storico that are convenient and accessible. We've focused on hotels
that can accommodate wheelchair users. (If you're a slow walker who can cross
low footbridges, and who has a companion to wrestle with the luggage, you can
skip this article and go to our Venice Hotel Maps,
where you'll find descriptions of many hotels that are no more than a bridge or
two away from airport ground transportation or the railroad station.)
We've limited our list to hotels that are easy to reach by
public transportation, for a simple reason: Water taxis aren't
wheelchair-accessible, and getting in or out of a water taxi can be
difficult at low or high tide.
In general, you're likely to find the highest degree
of accessibility in large luxury hotels, where public rooms, guest rooms,
and bathrooms tend to be more spacious than in small hotels.
Large electric scooters and oversize wheelchairs are likely
to be inconvenient in Venice, where streets may be narrow and crowded and
interiors of buildings (including hotel lobbies, restaurants, and shops) are
We don't pretend to be accessibility experts. If you're a
wheelchair user who'd like to share personal experiences at Venice hotels
with other travelers, feel free to
This article is a work in progress, and we expect to
add more hotels as time goes by.
links will take you to pages at Venere, our booking partner (an Expedia
subsidiary that is based in Italy and has negotiated discount rates with
thousands of Italian hotels). When making a reservation, use the comments box on the booking form
to say that you need a wheelchair-accessible room. (Your booking
confirmation will include an e-mail address for the hotel. We suggest using
that address to remind the hotel of your request several days before you
arrive in Venice.)
If you choose to reserve a room at a hotel that isn't
listed in this article, be sure
that the hotel really is accessible--and that it's within easy
reach of transportation and sightseeing. (And be leery of "crowdsourced"
information: For example, TripAdvisor lists 108 wheelchair-accessible hotels in Venice, a wildly
optimistic number that doesn't take hotel location into account.)
To get started on finding an accessible hotel in Venice, please
go to page 2 of this article.