Mountains become accessible to the disabled in Austria and Italy

From the Alps to the Dolomites, the doors to the mountains become accessible for everyone.

The GATE Project is making mountain resorts accessible to the disabled, but also to elderly people and families with very young children.  Between Vicentino, Bellunese, Bolzano and Salzburg the project creates facilitated routes, tactile maps and multisensory experiences.

There is an inclusive mountain range that, despite the geomorphological characteristics that would lead many people to be excluded from outdoor activities, wants to be accessible to the disabled, he elderly and families with small children.

Also read: Italy's new hiking trail to link all 25 national parks

For the moment, it includes four alpine resorts between Italy and Austria that have joined the project GATE - Granting Accessible Tourism for Everyone, conceived to make tourism more and more inclusive, allowing an increasing number of people to carry out outdoor activities in nature, despite environmental, physical and linguistic obstacles.  GATE is being developed in the Alps, an area of great natural value, and aims to activate a cross-border collaboration to ensure that inclusive tourism does not remain only the flagship of some rare Alpine territories, but becomes an opportunity to grow the tourism sector as a whole, promoting varied experiences.

Also read: Skiing in Madonna di Campiglio: All you need to know

For the time being, the participants in the project are the Rossi Park in Santorso, in the Vicenza area; the Alpago area in the Belluno area; the Bletterbach Geoparc in South Tyrol and the Kinderleicht Wandern in Austria in the Salzburg area.  The Parco Rossi is a romantic garden within a vast nineteenth-century construction in Santorso, in the province of Vicenza.  A welcoming and inclusive space equipped with an integrated and multi- sensory communication system, according to the principles of design for all (i.e. designed to be accessible to the largest number of people, regardless of age or ability, or psycho-physical conditions) thanks to an innovative project carried out by the local goverment.

A tactile, speaking and visual map welcomes visitors at the entrance and offers information about the location, security and visiting system.  A multimedia self-guide accompanies visitors to discover the park, through 19 audio and video stories that reveal the nature, history and secrets of the historic garden. The contents are available in Italian, English and LIS (Italian Sign Language).  With the GATE Project, the park is also developing an interactive reality game, to offer a playful experience for everyone, thanks to the innovative use of theatrical languages and the use of advanced digital technologies.

In the wild basin of Alpago, in the Belluno area, there is the Path of Sensibility, designed and developed for the inclusion of visually impaired people and, for certain stretches, for those with walking problems.  Along the 24 km that wind around the base of the main mountain groups of the splendid Alpago basin, there are alternating uphill and downhill sections that never exceed 300 m in altitude, making it a hiking trail suitable for everyone.  Downloading the APP of the trail, in the vicinity of places of interest, automatically activates descriptive audio tracks, photos and videos that provide a curious reading of the cultural and natural aspects of the landscape.

The Geoparc Bletterbach in Aldino, South Tyrol, allows you to look at the mountain from the inside, to observe the world of rocks up close and understand how the Dolomites were formed.  It offers visitors a fascinating journey through time on a site that, thanks to the GATE project, is barrier-free and also offers a virtual tour wearing special 3D glasses.  So even visitors with reduced mobility can enjoy the experience of the famous gorge.

The Kinderleicht Wandern in the district of Pongau, Salzburgerland, is a new proposal for families with small children, that offers easy routes and a variety of experiences with baby carriages / strollers (sometimes also wheelchairs), including mountain huts, green areas and cottages.

Wanted in Europe
Wanted in Europe
Wanted in Europe, part of the Wanted Worldwide network, is a website in English for expatriates in Europe established in 2006. We cover Europe's news stories that may be of interest to English speaking residents along with tourists as well. Our publication also offers classifieds, photos, information on events, museums, churches, galleries, exhibits, fashion, food, and local travel.
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