Italy - Article 9

Two aspects of this article have been examined;

  1. Rail travel
     
  2. Guide dogs

Rail

National Rail Travel
Regional Rail Travel
Urban Rail Travel
Transnational Rail Travel
Visiting Italy

National Rail Travel

In Italy the visually impaired and the guide or guide dog all receive a discounted rate (up to 50% each or one full fare ticket to cover both passengers) on the national rail network. Additional charges incur where a ‘reservation' fee or a ‘seated' ticket is required. Concessionary fares are often not fully endorsed by high-speed rail networks. Compulsory ‘reservation' fees can vary depending on the travelling period.
 

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Regional Rail Travel

There are several concession schemes operating at regional level, with variation from one location to another.
 

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Urban Rail Travel

There are various location-specific urban concession schemes. The concession system may vary from city to city, depending on factors such as local government or local transport company. Concessions have been reported to be regrettably at risk in several Italian cities.
 

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Transnational Rail Travel

The Italian Railways (FS) signed the IUR Agreement on Rail Transport for Blind People and their Guide issued in 1997 and amended in 2005. Visually impaired people residing in and travelling to any of the countries who signed this Agreement are entitled to a free ticket for their guide or guide dog provided that the return ticket is purchased in the country where the disability card was issued. In practice the Agreement does not apply to additional fees such as ‘reservation' or ‘couchette' which must be paid in full for both passengers. Furthermore, a survey conducted by EBU in 2000 revealed that in many countries the Agreement was not well known or was simply ignored by transport operators and authorities.

The signatories of the agreement are companies rather than States and many of the existing transnational routes are not covered by the Agreement. There are deplorably no provisions for the blind and partially sighted on the high-speed Artesia train (Italy-France) which only runs concessions for wheel chair users.
 

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Visiting Italy

In theory, it is impossible to benefit from Italian schemes as a foreign visitor as locally-financed concessions are limited to local residents. In practice, concessions are sometimes granted depending on the willingness of ticket vendors.
 

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Guide Dogs

  1. How many guide dog users are there in your country? The number of guide dogs varies on a day to day basis as new dogs enter service and others are withdrawn. Please provide an estimate figure.

    About 1,000 (one thousand)

  2. What regulations, if any, govern guide dogs access to:

     

    1. Public buildings (administration, hospitals, schools, etc.)

      According to law No 37 of  14 February 1974 (http://www.handylex.org/stato/l140274.shtml )  guide dogs are allowed on means of transport free of charge. A subsection was added  by law No 376 of 25 August 1988 providing for guide dogs to be allowed into all public buildings and business/commercial concerns open to the public (including hotels, restaurants, shops etc.) According to Law 60 of 8 February 2006 (http://www.parlamento.it/parlam/leggi/06060l.htm )  a fine (from 500 to 2500 euros) is applicable if a guide dog is denied access. The guide dog must be adequately trained and wear a muzzle in the cases identified within the above-mentioned Law 60/2006, paragraph 4.

      Further information on relevant legislation can be found at the following website: http://www.caniguida.it/8leggi.htm .

    2. Cultural and sports facilities (cinemas, theatres, museums, libraries, stadiums etc.)

      see above

    3. Leisure facilities (restaurants, hotels, holiday centres, beaches, etc.)

      see above

    4. Retail facilities (supermarkets, department stores, shops, etc.)

      see above

    5. Public transport

    see above
     

    1. trains
       

    2. underground
       

    3. buses
       

    4. taxis
       

    5. planes
       

    6. ships

    see above

  3. What are the regulations for the import and export of dogs into/from your country, including quarantine and vaccination procedures?

    When a dog is imported to Italy a veterinary health card is required in which the administered vaccines and relevant dates are entered. No quarantine is necessary but anti-rabies vaccination is especially required.  According to Regulation (EC) 998/2003 all dogs travelling to and from Italy have to be  equipped with a passport, have been vaccinated against rabies (vaccination has to be administered at least one month in advance and has a validity of one year) and be identified through transponder chip.
     

    1. Are exceptions made for guide dogs?

      No

    2. Are the regulations such as to restrict spontaneous voyages?

      No

    3. How much time is needed to fulfil the requirements?

      Time (not defined) needed to fulfil administrative requirements, i.e. health certificates provided for by law (validity of health certificates: 30 days)

      1.  For the first time

        see above

      2. For subsequent visits with the same dog

        see above

  4. Is there a certification process for the training and provision of guide dogs? If yes, please provide basic details, in particular on the difference between mandatory and optional certifications.

    Yes, but certifications are non mandatory

  5. Is there an allowance or other financial aid to help guide dog users with the upkeep of their animals (food, veterinary, etc.)?

    Tax legislation provides that the purchase and upkeep expenses related to guide dogs for blind persons are to be considered subsidized costs.

     

    The main tax break consists in a deduction of 19% of the expenses incurred for the purchase of the dog. The deduction is calculated on the full amount of the cost incurred up to a maximum of 18075.99 euros. The deduction is allowed only once in a period of four years, except in cases of loss of the dog.

     

    A further tax break consists in the standard deduction of 516.46 euros to compensate for the costs incurred for  the guide dog's maintenance and veterinary care.

     

    Further information on relevant legislation can be found at the following website: http://www.caniguida.it/8leggi.htm

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