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 it is only just recently that 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. Unfortunately there are still many places with 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 the Uffizi Gallery and the Academy Gallery, offer free entrance 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 person escorting the disabled (no matter the nationality) and most major churches 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.
Can Get a Temporary Pass
Ufficio Persone con Disabilità - Rilascio Contrassegni
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
All car parks in Florence have some dedicated parking spaces for the 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 which are subject to payment (blue lines). In both cases, you need to have your permit with the disabled symbol displayed in your vehicle.
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 to aid you while visiting the city, the tourist point in Piazza della Stazione (located on Piazza della Stazione 4) offers 2 wheelchairs for free use. You can request it directly at the infopoint, by phone by calling +39 055 212245 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. A deposit of € 150 will be requested (either cash or credit card), which will be returned once the wheelchair is returned. They can be rented for 2-3 days max.
The Arciconfraternita of Misericordia, right in Piazza del Duomo, also offers this free service. It is best to call ahead to make your request at +39 055 417761. 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, for a more ample selection and for electric scooters/wheelchairs, you need to consider renting directly from some shops. Here are a few to look into and contact for rental rates. Some will deliver at your hotel so that you can find it upon arrival. I've listed email addresses and websites so you can see what they offer (even if the info is all in Italian.
Via Pisana 37
Via Scipione Ammirato 39/R
Officina Ortopedica Renato Rombi
Via Girolamo Frcastore 33/35/37
Many restaurants and bars are accessible for the disabled.
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!