The famous gondolas of Venice are becoming wheelchair accessible for the first time thanks to a new project called Gondolas4All.
Gondolas4all, a crowd-funded non-profit organisation backed by the Gondoliers Association, has built a new dock where wheelchair users can access gondola tours.
The scheme was initially launched in 2012 by founders, Enrico Greifenberg and Allessandro Dalla Pieta, who had dreamed of creating an access point for more than 20 years.
The dock will be the first wheelchair-accessible landing place to allow people with disabilities to comfortably get on and off a gondola without exiting their wheelchair.
A video, available below, explaining the project was created by Gondolas4All.
Previously, wheelchair users would either need to get out of their wheelchairs or be physically lifted onto the gondola while still seated. The city’s lack of access points for people with disabilities also meant that getting close to the gondola in the first place was incredibly difficult.
The service will be up and running by the end of April (2016) once gondoliers are trained on how to use the lift.
The dock is based at the car-accessible Piazzale Roma square.
Venice’s Council has also created a new accessibility map for the city centre and islands which is available for download here.