Wendy Crawford Travelogue:
Last year I had, let’s just say, a landmark birthday. I realized that life has been flying by too quickly so I decided to plan a trip to a place that I have always wanted to visit – Tuscany. I happen to come across a villa that looked as though it was wheelchair accessible and the planning started from there. I thought that organizing the trip would be simple so I decided to plan it myself. Stating it was a tremendous amount of work to coordinate is a huge understatement, and next time I think it would be wise to use a travel agent specialized in working with people with disabilities.
Travel times: The best times to visit Tuscany are between late September and October and between April and May.
Flight information: Florence Airport is a small airport and you may not easily find direct flights from North America.
Practical Tips for travelling around Tuscany
- Here is a travelogue [PDF] about Wendy’s trip with resources included.
Three things Wendy would like to highlight :
- Use a travel agent specialized in working with people with disabilities
- I don’t usually wear compression stockings, but on this long flight they were beneficial as my feet only had minimal swelling
- Cobble street stones are difficult for wheelchair users. I was happy to have invested in a device called FreeWheel.
Three things to bear in mind:
- Beds are really low in Italy. It may make it easy for some if you transfer yourself, but was hard on everyone helping me to get dressed, etc
- It is easy for things to get misconstrued when people speak different languages
- Shops and restaurants often have a step to get inside, so a manual chair is the only way to go unless you have a specialized wheelchair
Wendy stayed in a self-catering apartment:
- Because we had such a large group and I wanted the experience to be as authentic as possible, we rented an apartment right in the centre of the historical city that I found online at www.homeaway.com. It was much more economical than two hotel rooms and we had a full kitchen, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms. The apartment was absolutely beautiful and fairly accessible.