ABOVE: This video from Gondolas4all shows how the service works. (If you'd like to donate to the nonprofit project, click the "Donate Today!" ad in the video.)
Venice is a more accessible city than you might guess, despite its more than 400 footbridges--nearly all with steps. If you plan your sightseeing carefully, you can explore much of the city center by wheelchair over level pavement, using the public vaporetti (water buses) to get from one accessible area to the next. (We cover the basics in our "Accessible Venice" article at Veniceforvisitors.com.)
Still, until recently, you were out of luck if you wanted to enjoy one classic Venice sightseeing experience in a wheelchair: taking a gondola ride. Gondolas4all, a project that launched in spring of 2016, has rendered that limitation obsolete with a wheelchair-friendly pier and gondola next to the Piazzale Roma on the edge of Venice's historic center.
The Gondolas4all pier has a mechanical lift that picks up your wheelchair, slides it horizontally over the gondola, and lowers the wheelchair into the boat. And that's it: Once the wheelchair is in the boat, you and your companions enjoy a standard gondola ride.
For more about Gondolas4all, including a booking form, visit:
To see a first-person account of a gondola ride in an electric wheelchair with Gondolas4all with a video), go to:
Where to find Gondolas4all:
The Gondolas4all pier is on the Fondamenta Cossetti, just south of the wheelchair-accessible Hotel Santa Chiara on the Rio Novo next to the Piazzale Roma.
Use the Google Map below to find it, and be sure to book your ride ahead of time. (Gondolas4All is in the rectangular notch on the left side of the canal below the words "Rio Novo." If you zoom in, you'll see "Gondolas4all" on the Google Maps 3D view.)