Moving around the city with a physical disability
Getting around the city of Florence with a physical disability can be a challenge. Consider that the city streets and all of the buildings in the historical center are hundreds of years old if not older and that slowly both public and private buildings as well as churches have started to implement the necessary adaptations to allow anyone with a physical disability to enter them without too many problems. Until then, there are many steps to get onto buildings and sidewalks.
Most museums in Florence are accessible. They are equipped with elevators, stair lifts and ramps to access rooms. All state museums, as well as Uffizi Gallery and Academy Gallery, are free of charge for EU citizens that are disabled and the person that is accompanying them.
If you book museums ahead of time, you might want to indicate if you need assistance during your visit.
City museums offer free entrance to the accompanying person escorting the disabled (no matter the nationality) and most major churches are free of charge; where admission is generally charged, the disabled and the accompanying person can enter free of charge.
The Opera del Duomo Museum, Giotto's bell tower, Baptistery and the San Marco Museum are not free. Entrance into the Cathedral is free for everyone.
All car parks in Florence have some dedicated parking spaces for disabled. These are marked with yellow lines and special signs. Parking is free of charge in these parking spots. If you don't find one available, you can also park for free in others spaces subject to payment (blue lines). In both cases, you need to have your permit with the disabled symbol displayed in your vehicle.
You can get a temporary pass at the Ufficio Persone con Disabilità (UPD) - Rilascio Contrassegni office located in piazza Libertà n. 12, cubo 8. Monday through Friday, 08.30-13.00/14.00-16.30 Tel. 055 40401, Fax 055 4040221, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
If you would like to move around by bus, most ATAF buses ride pretty low to permit getting on and off without too much difficulty. Most buses are also equipped with a special deck for loading wheelchairs and dedicated space on board to park them. The entrance to get on board in this case is the central door but you need to request assistance from the driver.
The taxi company So.co.ta. has 4 vans to be used specifically to transport anyone with a disability on a wheelchair. You can call for one (or reserve one for later in the day or another day) at the following number: 055-410133 between 8am-1pm and 2-5pm Monday through Friday. The vans have a platform for any type of wheelchairs. Rates are the same as for all other routes on a taxi. You can read more about using taxis in Florence here.
If you need to rent a wheelchair you can go to Arciconfraternita of Misericordia, right in Piazza del Duomo. You can rent it for free for the day according to availability. We suggest you call in advance (+39) 055-212222 to make your request. You can also go to the Fratellanza Militare Sede Sud, located near the Pitti Palace. Rentals are free according to availability and the phone number is (+39) 055-26021. Otherwise, the shop Dei Ortopedia, in Via Pisana 71/r, rents wheelchairs for longer periods. This service is not for free, but you can ask for direct delivery at your hotel. The phone number is (+39) 055-224090.
Many restaurants and bars are accessible for the disabled. You can visit the where to eat section of Florence's APT website and, with an advanced search, filter results by checking the "Facilities for the disabled" symbol.
Itineraries in City Center
Florence's City Council has drawn up a number of suggested tourist itineraries in the historic city center which includes specific information with regards to accessibility for anyone with a physical disability. Visit the council's site at www.comune.fi.it/viverefirenze/itinerari.html for more information. The site is, unfortunately, only in Italian. If you're interested in these itineraries, let us know as we could translate some of the material and post on this section if there is a request for them!
You might also like:
Did you find this article interesting? Share it!
Questions? The right place to ask is our Forum!
(questions posted on Comments below will no longer receive replies: so post on our Forum!)