Florence, the beautiful capital city of Tuscany, is top of many people’s bucket list. Birthplace of the Renaissance and home to some of Europe’s most impressive artworks and architecture, it is a city that begs exploration but just how easy is all that culture to access for those with disabilities? |
Well the answer is, like many of Europe’s Medieval cities, there are some very good, accessible areas and some that are more limited. The city authorities here have worked hard to ensure the most famous sights and artworks have good disabled access. Holidays to the city for those with limited mobility are, therefore, a rich cultural experience, and highly recommended.
Both the famous Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia offer free admission to disabled visitors and their guest or carer, and provide good disabled access.
• Uffizi Gallery – home to Botticelli’s famous Birth of Venus and numerous other priceless artworks, the Uffizi has a ramp for wheelchair users at the northeast end of the courtyard near the Palazzo Vecchio. • Accademia – Housing the legendary Michelangelo’s David, the Accademia has a ramp at the exit for wheelchair users.
It is worth booking tickets in advance and informing the galleries that you have special mobility needs when you book.
The City Centre
Thankfully the centre of city centre, with its stunning Renaissance architecture, is almost entirely flat, making it a relatively easy place to explore for those with mobility issues.
Although the cobble and paving stones may sometimes be uneven, they are usually quite simply navigated for bump-free disabled access. Holidays to explore the city’s stunning Renaissance buildings like the beautiful Duomo cathedral, the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge and Santa Croce church are therefore all within easy access for those with disabilities.
While the Duomo itself is at ground level, the cathedral does not have a lift so there is no access to explore its famous dome for those who are unable to manage the stairs.
Other sights to explore in Florence’s flat centre include the outdoor leather market with its range of artisan leather items for sale, the Medici Chapels and the Piazza della Signoria with its beautiful Roman statues and views of the Palazzo Vecchio.
Transport in Florence
There are wheelchair accessible taxis in Florence which can be ordered in advanced. These taxis are the perfect solution for exploring more challenging areas like the streets to the south of the river Arno which are hilly and steep. A vista well worth taking an accessible taxi to is the one from the Piazzale Michelangelo with its stunning views across the city.
It is not recommended for people with mobility issues to take the local buses as they are irregular and do not always cater to passengers with special mobility needs.
A little bit of forward planning before you set off to Florence will help you find the best sights to explore which provide positive disabled access. Holidays to Florence for people with disabilities may be a little more challenging, but, you’ll find, are well worth the little bit of extra planning.
Philip Scott is the owner and founder of Can be Done, a fully licensed UK tour operator specialising in disabled access holidays across the world for individuals and groups who are travelling with a handicap. With over 31 years’ experience organising long and short breaks for disabled travellers, Philip has built a reputation for helping his clients select hotels and accommodation that offer high standards of accessibility to ensure that those with special needs can experience truly relaxing and carefree holidays.
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