Tours and initiatives designed to promote accessibility in the sites of GREATER POMPEII


The “International Day of Persons with Disabilities is celebrated every year on 3 December. It is promoted by the Italian Ministry of Culture to underline the importance of access to cultural heritage, in keeping with high levels of inclusivity of all individuals without restrictions or distinctions, and in line with the principles set out in the United Nations Convention on the rights of people with disabilities.

The Archaeological Park of Pompeii has long been committed to ensuring the highest levels of access for all categories of visitors to the archaeological sites within its remit through cultural itineraries and initiatives launched each year and enriched by the ever-increasing involvement of local institutions and communities.


Ever since 2016, the initiative entitled “Pompei per tutti” (Pompeii for everyone) has been active at the site. This visitor-friendly tour of over 3.5 km – which breaks down architectural barriers wherever possible – has enabled visitors entering from Piazza Anfiteatro to walk through the whole of the ancient city until the Forum, with access to the most significant buildings and domus.

 The visitor-friendly tour is linked to a series of initiatives designed to make the visit experience complete and accessible to all. Examples of multi-level access to spaces have been tried out in several rooms in the site, with special attention to visually-impaired visitors. Tactile 3D models and explanatory supports in braille can be found in a stable, opposite the House of Ceres and at the complex of the tannery, which can be accessed from via Stabiana. The former is a model of the skeleton of a horse found in 1938 by Amedeo Maiuri, while the latter consists of tactile supports that help to understand how the process of leather-working took place in antiquity.


Since October, the suburban villas of Greater Pompeii (Grande Pompei), Villa Arianna and Villa San Marco in Castellammare di Stabia have been adapted with facilitated tours without architectural barriers and with systems for overcoming differences in height which now offer everyone unhindered access to the villas and the green spaces surrounding them which have been the subject of interventions designed to enhance them.


Other initiatives related to the Stabian villas, but also the Villa of Poppaea at Oplontis and Villa Regina at Boscoreale, include accessible and universal multimedia tours (also in sign language) designed to remove barriers to understanding and communication through the My Pompeii app or through monitors installed in the main rooms. The project “Enjoy LIS Art - Percorsi multimediali inclusivi sul patrimonio artistico e culturale della Campania accessibili per le persone sorde” (Inclusive multimedia itineraries exploring the artistic and cultural heritage of Campania accessible to people with hearing impairments)  is promoted by the Department of Schools, Social Policy and Youth Policy of the Regione Campania (regional government of Campania) in conjunction with ENS. the Italian Association designed to provide protection and assistance for the deaf.


Cognitive-sensorial disabilities are at the heart of memorandums of understanding such as the network entitled “Campania tra le Mani. Itinerari inclusivi nei luoghi d’arte” (Campania in your hands. Inclusive itineraries for sites of artistic interest), coordinated by the organisation for activities for students with physical and learning disabilities of Suor Orsola Benincasa University in Naples, involving public and private museums and trade unions; “Museo per tutti. Accessibile alle persone con disabilità intellettiva” (Museum for all. Accessible to persons with intellectual disabilities) is a project organised in collaboration with the association L’Abilità onlus and funded by the Fondazione De Agostini, aimed at creating a guide in the facilitated language Easytoread. A further initiative is the agreement between the Tulipano cooperative and the Department of Translational Medical Sciences of Federico II University of Naples to set up experimental accessible tours to the domus (town houses) in the Park and apprenticeships and internships for persons and young people with  autism and\or cognitive disabilities - “I Ragazzi di Plinio” (Pliny’s kids)  of the Rehabilitation Centre of Pompeii, through social agriculture projects.

As part of this recent collaborative initiative, the first interactive visual diary Pompei in blu - Viaggio nella casa del Menandro" (Pompeii in blue – Trip to the House of Menander) has been developed. It is designed to act as a tool for encouraging emotional interaction and access to works of art through interactive activities. The diary is part of the series "Percorsi museali inclusivi" (inclusive museum tours) which currently offers five museum tours within the network of museums that adhere to the "Tulipano Art Friendly" initiative.


Moreover, a co-design and inclusive participation cooperative workshop is being organised on 5 December at the Palestra Grande in Pompeii, from 10.00 am to 12.30 pm.  It is open to visitors to the Park of Pompeii, younger students from secondary schools (the second-year students of the second-year class 2E liceo TRED of the “E. Pascal” Lyceum in Pompei will take part) and to the young members of “Tulipano Art Friendly” in order to define experimental proposals for universal access to two green areas of Pompeii situated in Regio II (a garden along Via di Nocera and a green area along Vicolo dei Fuggiaschi).

The design proposals and ideas produced by the workshop will be an integral part of the future arrangement of the areas to make them inclusive and accessible to all. The workshop will be led and coordinated by Paolo Mighetto and Maurizio Bartolini from the “Cura del Verde” (Green area maintenance) department of the Park of Pompei and by Giovanni Minucci of the ‘Il Tulipano’ cooperative.

As part of the initiative, the inclusivity project “I Ragazzi di Plinio” (Pliny’s kids) will make ornamental Christmas wreaths and bags of lavender with the natural resources gathered in the green areas of the domus of Pompeii.


The aim of all these initiatives is to underline the essence of cultural sites as the expression of beauty, a source of individual and social wellbeing, personal and community development and places in which the fragility of art and archaeology can be experienced at first hand by people who are also fragile in some way. They will trigger a virtuous circle where sustainability, inclusion and wellbeing can be found in history and culture and will encourage the enhancement of personal and territorial identity.