The Dolomites are a heritage that belongs to everyone. Accessibility to them is therefore a priority for the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation which, in conjunction with local organisations and associations and thanks to funding from the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Tourism as implementation of Law No. 77/2006, has lent its support to a project for all those with limited motor possibilities: not only the disabled, but the elderly and small children too. At the end of February, users will be able to access the website www.visitdolomites.com and view 23 different itineraries which are accessible to everyone and cover the nine Systems of the Dolomites recognised by UNESCO. Each itinerary contains clear indications of the level of difficulty, as well as a detailed map, the GPS coordinates and the environmental and geomorphological features of the area. A preview of the itinerary will also be available using Google Street View, so users have all the information they need to decide whether the route is suitable for them.
Anyone with limited motor abilities, either due to age or disability, has to deal with countless problems every time they set foot outside their homes, especially in towns and cities. Architectural barriers, however, are a lot worse than natural barriers: they are put there by man, so are actively discriminating. And while, on the other hand, it may be true that natural obstacles appear (and more often than not actually are) unremovable, it is just as true that they are universal and, as such, can cause difficulties for anyone. The aim of the project was therefore to study and understand, with the crucial input of those who deal with restricted motor independence on a daily basis, which of the endless possibilities offered by the wild Dolomites landscape are suitable for children in pushchairs and people in wheelchairs. And it doesn’t end here…
Making the Dolomites more accessible means helping visitors experience complete immersion in the environment, not only physically but with their emotions and senses. So, last spring, courses were held in Falcade (BL) and Maniago (PN) for skiing instructors, Alpine guides and instructors in the mid mountains. During the training days, important and delicate issues were addressed: from accompanying visitors with autism spectrum disorder or sensory-motor disabilities, to who is legally responsible in the event of an accident.
The “Accessible Dolomites” project is a response to the needs of the area and the objectives set out in the Property’s Overall Management Strategy. But it is also a response to our duty as civilised members of society: our duty to guarantee the universal right to enjoy an equally universal beauty.