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Our accessible Mediterranean cruise vacation (Part 3)

December 29, 2018

This multi-part post describes a recent trip my husband, Charles, and I took earlier this year to celebrate our first wedding anniversary — a week-long Mediterranean cruise that included stops in three Italian ports. I have posted this information because I hope other people who have been diagnosed with MS — or who have a close connection to MS — will read it, and it will help make their life journey easier.

I apologize for repeating as I introduce myself to readers who are new to my blog: After my MS diagnosis, I began having problems with balance and foot drop, so my doctor recommended that I use a cane. I cannot walk long distances, even with a cane, so  when we travel, I use a mobility scooter. Because I use the scooter, we plan accessible vacations.

When we plan trips to Europe, we work with Sage Traveling. For this trip, the company provided accessible transportation to and from airports, hotels and our cruise ship, as well as knowledgeable guides for tours along the way.

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Charles and I at Rome’s Trevi Fountain. According to Wikipedia, an estimated 3,000 euros are thrown into the fountain each day.

Our second day in Italy included tours of Rome and the Vatican. Our driver dropped us off, along with our tour guide, in the middle of Rome. We saw many of Rome’s famous sights, including the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and the Spanish Steps.

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Rome’s famous Spanish Steps, which were built in 1723 to connect the Trinità dei Monti church that was under the patronage of the king of France, above the steps, with the Spanish square below the steps.

My scooter came in handy, as the city is quite large. Our guide knew the city and its history well. Rome was crowded with tourists, but our guide found a quaint open-air café on a side street, where our lunch included another tasty pizza.

After lunch, our driver picked us up and took us to Vatican City. That afternoon, we saw the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel.

An independent city-state surrounded by Rome, Vatican City is the smallest country in the world. It is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, home to the pope and contains a trove of iconic art and architecture that includes Christian relics, tombs of popes and famous artworks.

Tourists wait in line for hours to see the 54 galleries of the Vatican Museums. One of the largest museums in the world, they display 20,000 works from a collection of 70,000 amassed by popes throughout the centuries.

 

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Tourists look at a map in the Gallery of Geographical Maps, located in the Vatican Museums. The gallery is longer than a football field and contains 40 large maps of Italy. The maps were painted between 1580 and 1582.

Tourists are not allowed to talk or take photos in the Sistine Chapel, which is famous for the frescos that decorate its interior, specifically the Sistine chapel ceiling and the Last Judgment, which were painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512. The fame of these paintings has drawn multitudes of visitors since the paintings were revealed 500 years ago.

We were unable to tour St. Peter’s Basilica that day. To do so, we would have had to exit the Vatican and enter again through a different handicapped entrance, something we didn’t have time for. After touring the museums and the Sistine Chapel, our driver picked us up and took us back to the cruise ship.

Next up: On our third and final stop in Italy, we see Pisa, Florence and the Tuscany countryside.

 

 

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