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The Reflexive Traveller - Italy, accessibility and other observations, by Dr. Simon Darcy

29/07/2012 | 0 comments

Simon Darcy visits archaeological sites in RomeSimon Darcy enjoying archaeological sites of Rome using the "Joelette", July 2012

In his extended travelogue from a recent trip to Italy, Simon Darcy tells about his contacts, discussions and experiences through relationships with ENAT, the Italian Institute of Architects, the Foundation of the Carlo Besta Neurological Institute, Expo 2015, the Facoltà di Sociologia - Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, public offiials  and Italian accessible tourism businesses like Village for All.

Of course, he also took the opportunity to examine a range of accessible experiences including transport, attractions, hotels and customer service.

Read the full blog post at


Barbara Pianca of the Superando organisation interviewed me in the lead up to the trip and carried a story on the organisation's website. The interview focused on travel planning and accessibility for tourism. This theme was further developed by the Foundation of the Carlo Besta Neurological Institute who provided an opportunity for me to discuss the importance of tourism within the rehabilitation process for people who acquire disabilities. The Foundation does some excellent work and has always incorporated arts and sport within the rehabilitation process and it is now hoping to incorporate opportunities for people to travel while still in rehabilitation. The Foundation's Secretary Professor Ferdinando Cornelio hosted a media and business event where I was interviewed by mainstream print and television media on a range of matters including rehabilitation, Expo 2015 to be held in Milan and accessible tourism knowledge management processes that could be put in place to improve the tourism opportunities for people with disability.

A video of the interviews by the journalists from the Corriere.TV can be found at the following site Video Salute - Corriere TV

As with all areas of disability, accessible tourism required the collaboration of a range of stakeholders from the private sector, government and the not-for-profit. An important player is the university sector where the education of future generations of architects, planners, business people and government officials requires an understanding of access and disability within the curriculum. Accessible tourism considerations are relatively new within higher education curriculum around the world. Italy is no exception but there is a growing network of academics starting to develop curriculum and research around accessible tourism in Italian universities.

One such faculty and University is the Facoltà di Sociologia - Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, where Prof Ezio Marra is fostering accessible tourism opportunities at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The seminar on accessible tourism was held in partnership with the Italian Institute of Architects, whose member Isabella Steffan, Arch- Eur/Erg, presented an introduction to the seminar and placed it in context to tourism developments in architecture and the built environment in Italy. The seminar was attended by 25 students and faculty and generated a great deal of interesting discussion about tourism information systems, the accessibility of the Italian built environment and transport systems, cross-cultural differences in disability and access, and the opportunities provided by Expo 2015 for access, disability and accessible tourism.

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