Most Tuscan towns and cities are not easy for travellers with disabilities to navigate, and getting around can be a problem for wheelchair users – many streets are cobbled, and narrow pavements in historic centres are not wide enough for a wheelchair.
If you have an obvious disability and/or appropriate ID, many museums and galleries offer free admission for yourself and a companion.
An increasing number of museums, including Florence's Uffizi and Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, include tactile models of major artworks for visitors with impaired vision. Some museums, such as the excellent Museo del Bargello in Florence, runs organised museum tours for the visually impaired; reserve by telephone in advance.
Getting There & Around
Car If you are driving, EU disabled parking permits are recognised in Italy, giving you the same parking rights that local drivers with disabilities have.
Train If travelling by train, ring the national helpline 199 303060 to arrange assistance (6.45am to 9.30pm daily); mainline trains should all have two reserved wheelchair places. Visit Rete Ferroviaria Italiana’s information page for people with disabilities and reduced mobility (www.rfi.it/rfi-en/for-persons-with-disability) for full details of services offered and barrier-free stations.
Public Transport Trams and platforms are accessible for people with a physical or visual impairment. Most ATAF buses in Florence are wheelchair-accessible (with low-floor platforms by one door and a designated wheelchair area inside), but heavy traffic and narrow pavements can make accessing the bus's door ramp another matter altogether.
Taxi Some taxis are equipped to carry passengers in wheelchairs; always reserve in advance and make it clear you need a taxi for a sedia a rotelle (wheelchair) when booking.
Accessible Travel Online Resources
Tourism without Barriers (www.turismosenzabarriere.it) has a searchable database of accessible accommodation and tourist attractions in Tuscany, with filters according to your access need.
Village for All (www.villageforall.net/en) performs on-site audits of tourist facilities in Italy. Recommendations for Tuscany are limited to just two accessible hotels in Florence and a couple of campsites elsewhere for the moment, but fingers crossed the list will be updated.
Download Lonely Planet’s free accessible travel guides from lptravel.to/AccessibleTravel.Accessible
Accessible Travel Agencies
Accessible Tourism The cooperative Florence Planet provides the most useful and comprehensive access information on places of interest and public transport in Florence and Siena – look under the Destinations tab. It has accredited a handful of hotels in the region and specialises in tours for people with physical and visual impairments. It also offers adapted transport (as partner of Hertz) and rental of mobility aids.
Rome & Italy (www.romeanditaly.com/tourism-for-disabled) is a mainstream travel agency with a well-developed accessible tourism arm that offers customised tours, accessible accommodation, and equipment and vehicle hire. Its Wheely Trekky service, which uses a specially designed sedan/rickshaw with sherpas, allows wheelchair users to access many otherwise inaccessible archaeological sites.
Sage Traveling (www.sagetraveling.com), a US-based accessible travel agency, offers tailor-made tours to assist mobility-impaired travellers in Europe. Check out their website for a detailed access guide to Florence.