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little bird on the flowers

Spring is here (at last).

Spring is here (at last). The days are getting longer, the temperatures become warmer day after day offering more opportunities to spend time outdoors, to play sports or to discover the most charming places in Lombardy.


Villas and Gardens

Spring is the best season to go and discover the villas and botanical gardens that reopen their doors to the public after winter chill. Among the most popular spring events is the flowering gardens of Villa Carlotta on Lake Como, famous for its ancient camellias and azaleas in bloom. But there is more. The grounds of the villa (about 8 hectares open to the public) is a place of great charm, not only for its scenic location but also for the harmonious coexistence of styles, the wealth of species and the literary references that make it a must-see for visitors to lake Como.

The highlight of the month of April is the flowering of camellias (some very rare) that embellish Villa Carlotta with compact colourful spots. To celebrate this spectacle of nature, a series of events is organised in order to find out more about this flower, full of meaning and elegance.

Saturday, April 8, A guided tour of the historical collection of camellias by Paolo Cottini (11 o'clock)

Sunday, April 9, the concert "La Traviata in the hall", a concert performed by the Chamber Orchestra of Lombardy

Princess Charlotte's tea (2 9-17 - April 23). There are three dates with three samples of three different types of tea from Taiwan, China and India.

For information about these events please visit the Villa Carlotta website or write to eventi@villacarlotta.it.

The months of April and May (in which camellias and azaleas are in bloom) are undoubtedly the best times to visit Villa Carlotta and its gardens, also for persons with disabilities. "Over the past few years, Villa Carlotta has developed several projects to ensure the removal of architectural barriers and make available to all its historical artistic and botanical heritage," reads the site. The presence of two external lifts allows everyone to access the first and at the second level of the garden. In addition, the introduction of stabilizing gravel along the avenues has reduced the difficulty of moving around during the visit. Also, inside the museum a lift allows everyone to reach the second floor and continue their visit.

Per informazioni: www.villacarlotta.it


Art for all in the museums of Milan

And if it rains? Have no fear! For art lovers, the main regional museums offer must-see exhibitions.At Palazzo Reale in Milan, you can visit "About Art", an exhibition dedicated to the artist Keith Haring, which is open until June 18. It features dozens of paintings by the ironic American painter, many of which are new or have never been exhibited in Italy. Impressionism lovers, on the other hand, will be able to admire a selection of works from the Musée d'Orsay in Paris under the title "Edouard Manet and modern Paris" (until July 2).

Information on accessibility

Reduced admission for persons with disabilities and free for the accompanying person.

You can reach Palazzo Reale via different means of transport (Tram 2,3,14,15,16,19,23,24 and Metro M1 and M3 - Duomo station). Those arriving by car can park in the underground garage of Piazza Diaz or on the blue lines in the adjacent streets. In addition there are three parking spaces reserved for persons with disabilities with disabled passes in via Pecorari, in Piazza Diaz and Piazza Fontana.

Audio headsets are available and radio headsets for guided tours. You can make use of two manual wheelchairs.

Access to the rooms, located on the right door of the lobby, has an inclined ramp (gradient 5%) and a double swinging door (144 cm). In the lobby on the ground floor are: a ticket office (desk h 120 cm) and cloakroom (desk 100 cm). On the first floor there is a ticket office (desk h 120 cm) and bookshop (desk 90 cm).

The ground floor exhibits usually have a circular path and the rooms do not present barriers to internal mobility. To visit the exhibition on the first floor you must pass through the inner courtyard, paved with cobblestone and paved walkways, and climb the Piermarini "Staircase of Honor" (53 steps h 14 cm, handrail on the right). Persons with disabilities can use the lift. The rooms on the first floor are spacious and there are no obstacles to mobility; there are several seats (h 41 cm). The lift that connects the ground floor to the first floor is located in the courtyard on the right of the entrance lobby and can be reached via an inclined ramp (14% slope)

For information: www.palazzorealemilano.it/wps/portal/luogo/palazzoreale


Also in Milan, the Mudec - Museum of Culture. Here there is an exhibition dedicated to the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, who returns to Milan with a new and original itinerary that will accompany the visitor on a journey that leads from his early imagination to his abstract works of maturity. ( "Kandinsky, the errant knight", until 9 July).

Information on accessibility

Reduced admission for persons with disabilities and free for accompanying person. Audio guides are available.

The Museum has a large garage (179 spaces) located on two floors (-1 and -2) served by a lift (door 90 cm); 10 parking spaces are reserved for persons with disabilities equipped with disabled passes. Parking is also available in the immediate vicinity on the blue lines.

The main entrance has a threshold (h 3 cm) and three consecutive double swinging doors (210 cm). The structure is spread over three floors connected by two lifts (door 90 cm; cabin 150 x 133 cm, panel in relief and acoustic signal at floor landing).

On the ground floor you will find: the ticket office (desk h 121 cm), cloakroom (desk h 93 cm), the bistro, the design store, the "Culture Forum", a multipurpose space, a didactic area, the restoration laboratory, other areas set up to be visited by small organized groups and Mudec Junior, a space dedicated to children. The latter aims to encourage even the smallest to embrace different cultures of the world through games, multimedia and hands-on workshops. The Mudec Junior presents two swinging door (260 cm), round tables with four legs (free space underneath h 68 cm), cushions and stools.

The bistro, which is located on the ground floor to the left of the main entrance, has a large room (100 seats) with beautiful flowers on the walls, furnished with square tables with a central leg (free space underneath h 67 cm). The Design Store (desk h 96 cm), has double swinging doors (232 cm).

Also on the ground floor, in front of the cloakroom, there is an equipped bathroom for persons with disabilities. The bathroom has door of 83 cm, wall-mounted washbasin (front space 80 cm), floor-mounted toilet (front space 107 cm, right side 121 cm, left side 22 cm, handles on both sides and shower head on the left side of the toilet). On the first floor, around a large central enclosed square, you can find the exhibition area of the museum, which houses the section containing the works of the permanent collection as well as the rooms (double doors 200 cm) dedicated to large temporary exhibitions. On the first floor, there is a bookshop (desk h 100 cm, double doors 198 cm. It is only open during some exhibitions.


The auditorium completes the exhibition area with 300 seats (double swinging doors 224 cm). On the second floor are the toilets, of which one is equipped for persons with disabilities. It has a door (87 cm), floor-mounted toilet (front space 142 cm, right side 32 cm, left side115 cm, handles on both sides, shower head on the right side of the toilet).

The restaurant "Mudec Restaurant", located on the third floor, has an elegant room (90 seats) overlooking the former Ansaldo area, offering unprecedented views of Mudec; the room is decorated with square tables with a central leg (free space underneath 71 cm) and cash desk (h 117 cm). The restaurant serves dishes of international and Mediterranean cuisine. Upon request, there are specific menus for vegans, vegetarians and those with special dietary requirements.


From Tirano the Red Train

Then there is an old means of transportation (but at the time same modern and comfortable), which allows you to explore the Lombard landscapes in complete safety: on the train. Famous for its fiery red colour, the "Bernina Express" is a train of the Swiss railway company Rhaetian Railway that connects Tirano, St. Moritz and Chur. Being an itinerary of great scenic interest (a part of UNESCO Heritage), you can admire beautiful forests, lakes and glaciers sitting comfortably. Special observation carriages allow you to observe the panorama in all its glory.

The journey on the "Bernina Express" is not particularly difficult for persons with physical disabilities or reduced mobility. In Tirano, where the entrance to the railway is on one level of access, you can park your car in the station square for easy access to the ticket office by wheelchair. A subway is also available for persons traveling in wheelchairs, thanks to a special slope. The Saint Moritz Station, however, is on several levels, but equipped with special Stair-lifts and lifts. Once on the platform, there is a pedestrian underpass with a slope giving access to both the station square and the pedestrian path along the lake of St Moritz. Also some trains are equipped with "BD" carriages with exterior doors and wide sides. There are no discounts for passengers with disabilities and their carers in the purchase of the ticket.

For information on travel conditions for persons with disabilities: www.trenino-rosso-bernina.it/informazioni-per-disabili.html