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Exploring Florence at Your Pace
Exploring Florence at Your Pace

Exploring Florence at Your Pace

A Guide to Accessible Travel in Florence for People with Disabilities

Florence, in Italy, renowned for its artistic treasures, historic architecture, and captivating ambiance, beckons travelers from all corners of the globe. For individuals with disabilities, exploring this enchanting Italian city may seem challenging. However, Florence is committed to providing accessible experiences for all visitors. With careful planning and the right resources, individuals with disabilities can discover the beauty and charm of Florence while navigating its cobblestone streets and ancient landmarks.

(Yes, I said cobblestone streets - more on this in a moment, especially for my wheelchair using friends!)

 Beautiful architecture and street artists in Florence, but steps and uneven pavements are difficult with a disability

Accessing Accommodation

One of the key considerations when visiting Florence with a disability may be selecting accessible accommodation. Fortunately, the city offers hotels, guesthouses, and serviced apartments equipped with features such as ramps, elevators, and adapted bathrooms. Many accommodations also provide additional services, such as wheelchair rentals and assistance with arranging accessible transportation.

We didn't stay overnight in Florence, so I'm afraid I can't give any personal recommendations, but you can look at the official tourism site for lots of helpful information.

View of Florence, a beautiful city worth visiting even if you have a disability

Florence's Attractions With a Disability

Accessibility in Florence extends beyond accommodation to its rich cultural attractions. Iconic landmarks such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Duomo Cathedral have implemented accessibility measures, including wheelchair ramps, elevators, and designated accessible entrances (often to the side so look around or ask). While some historic sites may pose challenges due to their age and architectural constraints, many offer alternative accessible routes or virtual tours to ensure that all visitors can experience their splendour. 

Now, about those streets... Florence is an ancient city. Beautiful, charming, and quirky but with narrow streets at times, lots of cobbles, uneven pavements, and steps (see the photo above). My teeth were chattering and my bones were shaking from being pushed in a wheelchair over all those cobbles! My 'driver' found it equally hard to push! But was it worth it? Every second!

Ponte Vecchio bridge and the river in Florence

The famous Ponte Vecchio bridge is a good example - steps to get to it (from the route we took) and it was old uneven pavements and oh so crowded to push through in  wheelchair, so we decided not to bother trying to cross it, and just enjoyed the view instead from the riverside. It's all about compromise, right? 

Florence is a small city (which makes it easier to navigate) with beauty and interest around every corner. Be careful if you are unsteady on your feet or have visual impairment though, and take whatever walking aid you have, as you will definitely need it. Also just stop at a pavement cafe or sit on a bench for a rest and watch the world go by. It is so truly beautiful so drink it in - don't avoid it. Of all the places I've been, I'd say this one is definitely one worth the effort. Art, statues, architecture - Florence has it all!

Art and beauty abound in Florence. This is a famous fountain in the main piazza

Transport in Florence with Disabilities

Florence's public transportation system is also designed with accessibility in mind. The city's buses are equipped with ramps and designated spaces for wheelchair users, providing convenient transportation options for exploring the city's attractions. Additionally, accessible taxis are available for travelers who require door-to-door service.

Dining in Florence

Furthermore, Florence offers a wealth of accessible dining options, with many restaurants offering wheelchair-friendly entrances and accessible facilities. From traditional Tuscan trattorias to upscale dining establishments, visitors with disabilities can savor the flavors of Italian cuisine without encountering accessibility barriers.

I'd recommend any lovely pavement cafe where you can people watch and admire the view. You also don't need to worry so much about getting the wheelchair inside then, although I will warn you that many places have toilets tucked away up (or down) stairs. Finding accessible toilets is a challenge.

Stunning historic architecture and status, including Michelangelo's David statue

In conclusion, Florence invites individuals with disabilities to  discover and explore in one of the world's most captivating cities. With its accessible accommodations, cultural attractions, transportation options, and dining experiences, Florence ensures all visitors can enjoy its treasures. By promoting accessibility and inclusivity, Florence sets an inspiring example for accessible travel destinations worldwide. It invites travellers of all abilities to experience its timeless beauty and charm.

Flying to Florence? You might want to check our post about assistance at airports