When Franck and I started to think about Apulia for our next travel, I looked for information about the accessibility for people with reduced mobility in this region. But I found almost nothing. So I was a bit nervous thinking I would struggle everyday because of stairs, cobblestones and other obstacles. Especially since we decided to visit many old towns. But we were too eager to discover the religious architecture of the region, the Italian food and the wonderful beaches of the Adriatic coast so we bought flight tickets! Well, that was a good call as we discovered that Apulia is more wheelchair friendly than we imagined. So let’s discover the Terra di Bari and Itria Valley’s cities and tourist sites!
Visiting Bari in a wheelchair
Accessibility in Bari:
- Transports from the airport to Bari
- Rolling around Bari in a wheelchair
Rolling around Bari Vecchia, the historical centre, in a wheelchair is very easy as this area is car-free and there are no sidewalks. Plus, the ground surface is easy to roll on. Unfortunately, strolling outside the old town in a wheelchair is more difficult. Some sidewalks have curb cuts at one end but not on the other and there are many scooters and bikes blocking the way.
Where to eat in Bari?
- El Focacciaro, Via Salvatore Cognetti, 43. If you need to choose one place to eat that’s here! The focaccia is so yummy! Despite being a very simple dish we found it really delicious. It was so yummy that we came back to eat another before going back to France. Indeed, we didn’t succeed to find such delightful focaccia during the rest of our travel in Apulia. El Focacciaro is not really a restaurant. It looks more like a bakery so you will not be able to sit at a table but if you go just a few metres away you will be able to indulge yourself while looking at the sea. El Focacciaro is wheelchair accessible. Counters are high but transparents so you will still be able to look at all the focaccias, breads and other luscious dish before choosing your meal.
- La baresana, via roberto da bari, 6. A perfect place for the pizzas lovers! There is a sill of a few centimetres to enter the pizzeria. Toilets are wide enough to enter in with a wheelchair and transfer from side to side to the toilet. But there is no grab bar and the corridor is quite narrow so some wheelchair will not fit in it. During the summer, all the tables are outside on the terrace which is wheelchair accessible.
- Mastro ciccio, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 15. I was so frustrated to discover this restaurant just during our last day of vacation! The food there is yummy and you are overwhelmed by food options. Sandwich, puccia, arancini, pizza: I would have liked to taste everything! There are steps at the main entrance but there is another entrance on the side street which is without steps. The door is locked but if you knock (or ask help to someone) a waiter will come to open it. Just behind the door, the path is a bit steep so you might need some help.
- Where to sleep in Bari?
Polignano a Mare
If you visit Polignano a Mare, you will surely notice “Cala Porto”, this tiny beautiful beach overlooked by the “Ponte Lama Monachile” viaduct. I still can’t decide what surprised me the most: the incredible number of people crowded on the sand or the intense and cristal clear turquoise colour of the sea! At the end of the beach, the old town built on the edge of the cliff, looks stately. While stepping into the narrow streets of this historical centre, the tourists bustle slowly fades away, allowing us to appreciate a stroll in those picturesque alleys.
Getting around Polignano a Mare in a wheelchair
- The old town ground is covered with flat and big pavement so it is easy to roll there. In some places the ground is uneven but this is still manageable. The pedestrian street “Via Roma” which cross the old town is very easy to roll on with a wheelchair.
- Most of the sidewalks have curb cuts at their ends but sometimes they might be obstructed by bikes, vespas, bins or other objects. So sometimes it is necessary to roll on the road but that is not really an issue because everybody is used to walk on the roads so the drivers are careful.
- There is an accessible toilet behind the police office (you have to pay 0,50€) but they are not totally suitable for every wheelchair users as there is no grab bar and the seat is low.
- Where to eat in Polignano a Mare?
At “il gabelliere” restaurant on the “Piazza F. Miani Perotti”. For 5 euros, I had a puccia and it was yummy and copious. The inside of the restaurant is not accessible but it is possible to eat at a table on the outside sitting area. Or make it a take away, and enjoy it while bathing in the sun on the square right next to the restaurant.
Getting around Monopoli in a wheelchair
- The shopping area is easy to roll around. Plus, there are many disabled car spaces. But be aware of the tricky sidewalks: too often they have curb cuts on one side but not on the opposite.
- The old town ground is covered with flat and big pavements which are easy to roll on. Still be careful because of the tiny grout line: I stumbled over many times.
- In the old town, there are two disabled car spaces in front of the tourist information site.
Getting around Alberobello in a wheelchair
- There are some disabled car spaces in the city.
- It is possible to visit Alberobello without going through streets with stairs. Avoid the street ” Via Monte San Michele” and prefer to go through the “Via Monte S.Gabriele”.
- Alberobello is built on two hills so the streets are very steep. Wheelchair users will need the help of a very healthy person to push and hold them.
- The ground is covered with flat and wide tiles which are easy to roll on.
- Where to eat?
Accessibility in Ostuni
- The city has many very steep streets and stairs everywhere which makes it difficult to visit in a wheelchair. It is possible to stroll only in a few streets even with the help of another person.
- After walking through the street “Via Francant Arc Zaccaria”, in which there are no steps, you can enjoy a very good view on the white citadel and start an easy stroll around it.
- The museum, often mentioned in travel guides, is not wheelchair accessible.
If you would like to have more information to organise your travel in Apulia you can also read about the most beautiful and wheelchair friendly beaches and about our travel itinerary and budget in Apulia.
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