Villa Ghislanzoni is an Agriturismo about 5 km from Vicenza in northern Italy.
We have stayed here about three times and it has many good attributes.
It is in the town of Bertesina on the outskirts of Vicenza.
The Palazzo sits in grounds of 20 hectares.
The gardens are beautiful and very well maintained.
There are extensive grassy areas, an orchard, poultry yards, a beautiful stream and lovely walks.
There are about half a dozen apartments, one of which is wheelchair accessible (more or less).
These are at the front edge of the gardens, and probably once were servants quarters or such.
The apartment has two bedrooms, one upstairs with its own shower and loo.
Downstairs the apartment is flat and spacious. The floor is covered with bumpy tiles but they are not too annoying and add a nice rustic feel.
There is good room on either side of the bed.
The bathroom has a roll-in shower. This is a bit small and the floor tends to flood. The floor also slopes the wrong so way things can get a bit wet.
The solid kitchen table has low sides which mean I can’t get under it but I’m taller than most. The kitchen is humble but adequate.
There is a bit of a step at the front door so I have to use my portable ramp but this may have been fixed. The double doors at the entrance are each too narrow for a wheelchair so both must be open. This is a bit tricky from a wheelchair. Access to the Palazzo from outside is through big electric gates. Unfortunately the swipe-card reader is in a spot which is inaccessible for wheelchairs. The card-reader on the inside to get out is okay. Many of the paths around the grounds, including from the gate to the apartment, are covered in white gravel. This is a bit of a challenge for a wheelchair, although I was usually able to plough along without getting bogged. The owners raked me a bit of a path near the apartment which made it easier. Again, this may have been improved recently. The owner claimed he was unable to replace the gravel for heritage reasons.
Other paths around the grounds are dirt or grassy. I had no problem with these unless it had been wet, which it rarely is in summer. The grounds really are very beautiful and interesting.
If you have a car (we often hire a wheelchair accessible one) you can probably park behind the apartment, otherwise the car park is right across the Palazzo near the swimming pool.
Without a car, public transport is fairly poor. There is a bus into Vicenza which stops right outside the Palazzo but none of the buses are wheelchair accessible. In fact in 2015 none of the buses in the whole of Vicenza were accessible! We discovered a great taxi driver who came at all hours with fairly short notice so that helped us out.
It was possible to get in and out of the bus using my portable ramp. Just convince the bus driver to pull the bus up near the curb to minimise the height.
A couple of years ago a lovely swimming pool was installed at the back of the Palazzo.The pool is beautiful and very well maintained.
A strange foot-washing contraction was installed in the path leading into the pool. Since there was a rope fence all around this meant I could not get into the pool area in my wheelchair. We had to temporarily dismantle the rope fence.
The owners of the Palazzo are lovely and very helpful, they just don’t always think things through regarding wheelchair access. This is common with most people who don’t have a lot to do with people in wheelchairs. They did help us extensively when dealing with the Italian train system to book trains to the Expo et cetera.
The town of Bertesina seems to be dying. There was a pizza joint just down the road but it has closed. There is also a little delicatessen at the end of the street but he was threatening to close up shop as well. Sometimes we would walk 2 km to Bertesinella, which has a supermarket and various other shops, tavernas and restaurants.
I also walked (rolled) the 5 km into Vicenza a few times. The traffic is a little dodgy here and there but mostly it’s not a bad walk and since my power chair does 10ks an hour it only takes me thirty minutes.
Accessible apartments are very hard to find in Europe although things are improving. Thus we have stayed here about three or four times.
It’s not far from Vicenza which is on the train line to Padova, Verona, Milano and Venezia (Venice). Thus a day trip to Venice is perfectly possible, since the train takes you right into the lagoon. Villa Ghislanzoni is definitely worth a visit.