Siracusa ExperienceMarch 25, 2021
Orchestra Barocca SicilianaMarch 25, 2021
All ph. © Siracusa Per Tutti
Siracusa for Everyone
Good Practices in Tourism for Inclusion and Accessibility
Every year the European Commission assigns awards to three cities that have distinguished themselves for their “extraordinary commitment to making their city more accessible for people with disabilities and the elderly”. The only Italian city to have won the prestigious European prize has been Milan in 2016, but that same year, at the national level, another city stood out in the ranking drafted by the ANMIL (Italian National Association of Victims of Industrial Injuries), as the sole representative of the south of Italy, Siracusa. For the most part, this result has been achieved thanks to Sicilia Turismo per Tutti, an association founded in November 2014, from an idea of Bernadette Lo Bianco, an expert in accessible tourism and culture. The association was born with the aim of promoting quality accessible cultural development, as well as sustainability and responsibility, and to define the necessary strategies to promote measures and activities focused on improving accessibility to Sicilian touristic, cultural, religious, naturalistic, thermal and sport resources. The association’s strategic mission has been, from the beginning, to implement a project known as “Development of tourism for everyone”, and with this view of tourism as an asset for everyone, Sicilia Turismo per Tutti is active across the region to develop its idea of transparent accessibility to tourist facilities and cultural monuments.
Mappa tattile al Museo Bellomo
Traduzione in LIS al Teatro Greco
Many projects have already been launched: sightseeing tours in Sign Language in Siracusa and Noto, theatre for everyone with the sign language translation of the classical representations at the Greek theatre of Siracusa, the establishment - for the first time in Sicily - of Sunday Mass in Sign Language, which is held at the Sanctuary of Madonna delle Lacrime in Siracusa, the regional mapping of accessible beaches, the construction of access ramps to some of the monuments in Siracusa, the creation of tactile maps for the Cathedral, the Regional Gallery of Palazzo Bellomo, and the Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Lacrime, as well as the formation of a committee focused on sport for everyone at the Sports Center in Siracusa, and the devising of a tactile and sensory triail which uses the scent of jasmine at the “Corrado Basile” Papyrus Museum.
The key element of accessible tourism is the inclusion of all the travelers who, during their vacation, have special needs, but it goes beyond physical, intellectual or temporary disability. The elderly, families and children also have specific requirements, and the tourism industry needs to be able to satisfy them. Thinking in terms of accessible hospitality means focusing on the interaction between the product/touristic service offered and the travellers/guests, who must feel welcome regardless of their age, physical and sensorial capacities.
Mappa tattile nella cattedrale di Siracusa
Tourism is a field that requires territorial cohesion, one that has to be built on solid foundations and must encourage a culture of hospitality which is endorsed by its community, its institutions, and its professional operators. Every small goal that has been reached in Siracusa has been made possible by working in synergy, and this has allowed Sicilia Turismo per Tutti to create a sort of “community production chain”, which brings together all those involved to ensure tourism is accessible to everyone. The result is a service which is considerate of the guests’ needs and requirements, making the tourist the main protagonist in a unique travel experience, one that is also repeatable, as it’s accessible.
Making sure every site, museum, monument and tourist place of interest is accessible is not only a sign of respect and modernisation: above all, it’s a long-term objective that must be pursued to broaden and improve the quantitative and qualitative offer of tourist destinations in Siracusa.
The challenges Sicilia Turismo per Tutti is facing are always evolving, but thanks to the support of all those involved in the area they can and must become a beautiful reality.
BERNARDETTE LA ROSA
Born at Siracusa on International Woman's Day, Bernardette has an extra 'r' in her name to be more original. She graduated in the Science of Cultural Heritage with a specialisation in History of Art, loves English literature and cats. An avid viewer of films and TV series, she writes - literally with pen and paper - stories for children which maybe one day she'll publish, and in the meantime she enjoys talking about art, culture, the environment, tourism and everything that can make the world around us a little better for everyone.