ANCIENT Roman cobbled streets and wheelchairs do not normally mix, but Italy's culture ministry has unveiled new paved passageways to make the world-famous Pompeii archaeological ruins disabled friendly.
"As of today all tourists, even with reduced mobility, partially sighted or simply those who have a baby pram to push, can enter and easily walk through the streets of ancient Pompeii and visit its most beautiful houses," Pompeii director Luigi Curatoli said.
The scheme, part of a €105 million ($126 million) restoration funded by the European Union that also addressed chronic conservation problems at the UNESCO World Heritage site, was unveiled on the eve of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
After the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, Pompeii is Italy's most popular tourist site - attracting almost three million visitors last year.
The once prosperous city was destroyed after an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, which killed thousands of people.
Ruins have survived to this day after being covered for centuries by thick layers of volcanic ash.