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Accessible Sicily and UNESCO sites
Nowadays travelling is one of the most essential needs. No one is excluded. But actually there is someone who is not able to satisfy this: people with specific needs. Persons on a wheelchair, the deaf, the blind, the allergic and so on.
In Italy there is a big problem regarding this group of people. First of all in the way to approach these people and secondly for the many architectural barriers. In the latest 10 years many projects have been developed. One example that I consider an excellence in Italy is ‘Turismabile’, managed by the Piedmont regional board. It has been working on accessibility in Piemonte since 2007 involving, not only the single operators like a hotel, but the entire territory as a whole.
In Italy there are many projects realised to improve the accessibility of private and public buildings or specific areas. For the public properties the biggest problem is that sometimes ancient buildings are not organized to make them accessible for all.
And what about Unesco’s World Heritage sites?
The MUST project
MUST stands for Mobility Unesco Sustainable Tourism, a project whose aim is to reduce the differences among all travellers, specifically for the Sicilian destinations included in the Unesco’s World Heritage. Italian Storytellers has been involved in the project with the role to test a tour among the Unesco sites in south-eastern Sicily. In addition to us there were disabled people testing the itinerary. We were really proud to be part of it and we hope to give a concrete contribution to it.
The MUST project is not only an itinerary, it also includes other actions like a network or a web portal.
The network called “Unesco without barriers” involves local tour operators, transport services, hotels and other partners to increase the number of tourists with specific needs coming to Sicily. What’s more the operators have to be able to take care of tourists from the departure to the leaving to be part of the network.
The web site ‘Sicily for all’ has been created to offer all the information a tourist needs to arrange a holiday in Sicily. It provides details about the accessibility of the cities, a customer care service and the possibility to get in touch with local operators.
My experience with the MUST
The recent tour I have taken part into stretches across cities like Catania, Syracuse, Noto, Ragusa, Modica and Piazza Armerina. These cities preserve Unesco’s World Heritage sites accessible to disabled people.
In this tour, Sicily told us a story starting from the masterpieces of Catania, a wonderful, contradictory and seductive town, or the archaeological sites that weave myths of men and gods as in the Volcano with Polifemo. Sicily whispered its mysteries, when in the square with the elephant in Catania or in Syracuse with Aretusa, the source of Ortigia. Faith and superstition are blended together as well as freemasonry and esotericism. Sicily is a land that turns into lava, burns and destroys everything, but creates wonderful sceneries on the Ionic Coast or in Marina of Ragusa. From the mountains to the sea this brazen land smells of sulfur and Citrus at the same time.
Today, the real luxury is to regain control of your space and time. The luxury of travelling without compromises, indulging on your interests and passions, in an unique natural environment suspended between sea and mountains, where you can shape time according to your mood but above all according to your needs.
The MUST project is giving new possibilities and accessibility, just to give space to all. It is beautiful the feeling of knowing that everyone, disabled or not, can be enchanted by Sicily. Along the way that we did to the Etna volcano up to Piazza Armerina, I learnt new things: how to see with new eyes and hear with new ears.
In Modica I wanted to try the experience of conducting a wheelchair, understanding the difficulties that disabled people may encounter during the tour. Thanks to this experience I can say that I saw a Sicily more beautiful and most of all for everyone.
After several tours a blogger is used to grow fond and greet the people of the group at the end of the tour, but this time it was tough. Within a few days I got used to the idea of having found new and valuable friends.
Today Sicily is not entirely ready to welcome disabled people due to its architectural barriers, but there are high hopes that soon everything will change and Sicily will become a land accessible to people with specific needs too, as happened in Piedmont.
I’d like to invite you to this travel among 4 of the Unesco’s World Heritage sites in Sicily.
Are you ready to leave?
[/et_pb_text][et_pb_team_member admin_label=”Giorgio” saved_tabs=”all” name=”Salvatore Giorgio Franco” image_url=”http://www.italianstorytellers.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Giorgio-Franco.jpg” animation=”off” background_layout=”light” facebook_url=”https://www.facebook.com/luoghipensanti” twitter_url=”https://twitter.com/giorgiofranco_s” google_url=”https://plus.google.com/u/0/104591042950176600264″ use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]
I’m Sicilian. I’m a graduate student in Archaeology and passionate about everything related to Cultural Heritage. I like to know off the beaten path places. I create pottery items and I love to visit artisans’ workshops.
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