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Italy - Disability

Discrimination on the grounds of disability is illegal throughout Italy. However, living with a physical handicap in certain countries can be a challenge and unfortunately, Italy is no exception, in spite of the fact that approximately 5% of the total Italian population comprises of disabled people.

When it comes to work, according to the Italian legislation, an organization that hires 15 to 50 employees should have at least 1 or 2 handicapped people. In case of larger companies, the law demands that 7% of the workforce consist of people with disabilities. Certain benefits, such as lower Social Security contribution, are granted to companies that hire disabled people. Workers with special needs are supported by various legislative bodies. While there is no discrimination against the disabled in terms of employment or education, some amount of societal discrimination does exist.

Most of the major cities in Italy are now making efforts to accommodate people with disabilities. Many buildings and structures have installed ramps, so that people on wheelchairs face less difficulty getting in and out of the premises. The public transport has also become a lot more user-friendly for handicapped people in the last few years.

Train travel

There are a few seats reserved on trains for passengers on wheelchairs. In such cases, the passengers should be able to transfer from their wheelchairs on to the seat. On some trains, there are special compartments to accommodate wheelchairs for those passengers who cannot be transferred.

The Italian Railways also provides assistance to disabled people, during the journey through the Blue Room (Blu Sala) service. The staff at Blue Room helps with travel information, booking of seats, wheelchair arrangements and assistance in carrying 1 handbag. However, it is important to call in advance and make arrangements at least 24 hours before traveling by train. Moreover, the passenger should be present at the assistance point half an hour before the estimated time of departure. This service can be reached on +39 199 303060 from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM local time.

All Italian residents who are disabled, including the visually impaired and war invalids, are entitled to mobility allowance, just by obtaining a free Blue Card (carta blu) from a Blue Hall or a ticket counter.

Air travel

According to the EU regulations, all individuals with limited mobility are entitled to special assistance at airports and in planes without any extra cost. The airport authorities in Italy are responsible for ensuring that the special needs of all disabled travelers are accommodated. Every major airport has provisions for a wheelchair as well as assistance during boarding and landing. The airport staff also helps disabled travelers with checking in, baggage and flight connections.

In addition to that, the airlines are free to provide any additional services to individuals with reduced mobility. However, it is important to notify the airline about specific needs for a disabled passenger, while booking the ticket.

Bus travel

It is quite a challenge for people on wheelchairs to use public buses. Certain private companies rent out buses that have been adapted for disabled people. For more information on these companies, log on to http://www.bus.it.

Boat travel

Almost all boats and ferries operating through the Italian peninsula can be easily accessed by the disabled. However, when making a booking for a ferry ride, it is important to specify the type of disability, so that special assistance can be provided. Given below are the details of a ferry service that offers special assistance for the disabled –

Corsica Ferriesi
Via Angelo Brunetti 25/D, Rome
Tel: +39 06 322 2469

Car parking

When it comes to parking, special provisions are made for handicapped individuals who are capable of driving an automobile. All cars that are parked in a “disabled spot” should have the European Community Blue Badge or a Blue Disabled Parking Card.

The accessibility of motorway service areas, bathrooms, restaurants and other amenities is still under development. Therefore, accessibility may vary from one area to the other. For more information, contact –

Associazione Centro Documentazione Handicap (CDH)
Via Legnano 2, 40132 Bologna
Tel: 1 800 018 537 / +39 051 641 5005

All residents of Italy who wish to have their disabilities recognized should refer the ASL. However, social invalidity benefits are only provided to those who have an Italian residence Card. Given below are some useful contact numbers for disabled services in Italy -

Superabile: 1 800 810 810
Cooperative ProgettAzione: +39 03 5614928

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