Wheelchair accessible things to do in Florence
The incredible city of Florence is home to many famous sights, like the Uffizi Gallery, Brunelleschi’s Dome, and the Palazzo Pitti.
The city does present some challenges for wheelchair users, mainly the cobblestone streets and the lack of accessible public transit options connecting the famous locations.
The good news is that almost all of the tourist attractions are within walking/rolling distance of each other and the city centre is free of hills. Here is my list of ten wheelchair accessible things to do in Florence.
Take in the Views from the Piazzale Michelangelo
To get the best views of Florence, you absolutely have to visit the Piazzale Michelangelo, a historic square overlooking the city.
It is located at the top of a high hill, so you will need to get there by taxi if you have a manual wheelchair. You can take an accessible bus from the train station if you have an electric wheelchair.
If you can manage it, make your trip at sunset – the view is even more beautiful then!
Enjoy the Uffizi Gallery
Don’t miss the chance to visit the world-famous Uffizi Gallery, which houses the works of iconic artists including Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Da Vinci.
The Uffizi offers free admission for guests in wheelchairs and one companion. You will want to visit the gallery with a companion because they will need to retrieve your tickets on the west side of the courtyard where there are steps.
It is also helpful to have a companion because while there is an access ramp, there are a few steps to get to it.
There is an elevator large enough to accommodate a wheelchair, and if your wheelchair is too big you can rent one at the entrance to access the elevator.
There is a stair lift to the bar and terrace, so you can relax and enjoy a drink there if you choose.
Stop by the Accademia Gallery
The Accademia Gallery is another must-see place in Florence and is where Michelangelo’s famous marble David statue is displayed.
It also contains amazing Renaissance era paintings, wooden panel paintings from the 14th century and Gothic altarpieces.
Like the Uffizi Gallery, the Accademia allows wheelchair users and one companion to visit free of charge. There is one step at the main entrance, but you can also enter via ramp at the exit door.
There are multiple elevators and stair lifts so a wheelchair user can reach every floor, and there is an accessible restroom located near the entrance.
Check Out Santa Croce Church
There are many beautiful churches in Florence, but the most interesting church would have to be Santa Croce Church.
It is the largest Franciscan church in the world, and contains sixteen chapels, frescoes, and tombs. Many of the city’s most famous historical figures are buried here, including Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli.
Most of the Santa Croce Church is accessible, and there are two ramps for wheelchair users. One of these is located by the entrance to the Basilica.
The other is near the exit of the Monumental Complex. You can also rent a wheelchair free of charge if you need to.
Tour the Palazzo Pitti
Another great accessible destination in Florence is the Palazzo Pitti. It is an amazing palace dating from the Renaissance that is now the city’s largest museum complex.
The palace was once home to many of Florence’s famous families, including the Medici, Lorraine and Savoy families. It now houses museums, the Boboli Gardens, and galleries and you can easily spend an entire day here!
There is an incline up to the entrance that can be a challenge to wheelchair users. If you have an electric wheelchair you should be able to make it without a problem but if your wheelchair is manual you will need assistance.
The entrance is at street level and there are no steps to the inner courtyard, where you will find the elevators. Don’t miss the chance to see this incredible palace complex!
Sign Up for an Accessible Guided Tour
There are plenty of accessible tour options in Florence, and most of them are through the company Sage Traveling. They offer a tour package, which covers virtually all the accessible sites in Florence and also a variety of shorter walking tours.
There are walking/rolling tours to the Accademia Gallery, the Palazzo Pitti, Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi Gallery, among other places. Sage Traveling is a great company that will bring you to see the major sights and will make all the necessary accessibility arrangements for you.
- Sample the Local Cuisine
Florence has many amazing restaurants where you can enjoy the traditional Tuscan cuisine. Many of these are both budget friendly and accessible. Some of them have accessible restrooms, though you will want to call ahead of time to make sure.
It is probably best to decide on an accessible restaurant in advance, but if you are feeling adventurous, you can explore. Almost any street in Florence has a wonderful trattoria, bar or restaurant. Or if you are in the mood for a treat, there are plenty of shops offering delicious gelato.
Go to a Museum
There are many museums in Florence, but two that are especially fascinating are the Archaeological Museum and Galileo Museum.
The Archaeological Museum has extensive collections of Etruscan and Egyptian artefacts, including pottery, fabric and bronze work.
To access the museum, you will need to ring the bell at the main entrance. A staff member will escort you to the side entrance.
The Galileo Museum is on Piazza dei Giudici, near Uffizi Gallery, and contains a museum of scientific instruments and an institute for the history of science.
If you are a wheelchair user, you will need to go to the Lungarno Anna Maria Luisa de Medici entrance and use an intercom to contact the staff. Once you get inside, you will find that the entire museum is barrier-free and accessible.
See Brunelleschi’s Dome
Brunelleschi’s Dome covers the top part of the Florence Cathedral, known as the Duomo, and is one of the most famous structures in the city.
The Dome was by Filippo Brunelleschi, a goldsmith, using construction techniques that were experimental and risky in his day.
The area around the cathedral has cobblestones, which makes it a little challenging to manoeuvre in a wheelchair. There is a wheelchair accessible entrance at the Duomo, which is near Giotto’s bell tower.
You might need to find a staff member to let you in if this entrance is closed. Inside, the cathedral is huge with few barriers and is mainly flat.
Unfortunately, the Dome is not accessible to wheelchair users, as there are hundreds of steps and no elevators. But the views from outside and within the cathedral are absolutely stunning!
Visit the Synagogue and Jewish Museum
This synagogue is in a Moorish architectural style, which makes it distinctive from the Renaissance buildings in the city. When you visit the synagogue, be sure to also visit the Museo Ebraico, which was founded in 1981. It features an array of Jewish art, furnishings, photos and documents on the history of the Florence Jewish community.
The synagogue and the first floor of the museum are entirely wheelchair friendly. The second floor of the museum has some degree of access. There is also an elevator and accessible restrooms. After touring the synagogue and museum, you can check out the bookshop and relax in the outdoor garden.
Best accommodations in and around Florence
If you are headed to Florence, also book a comfortable accommodation in Florence. Let Handiscover help you find the most suitable accommodation.
What you need to do is to choose a cosy apartment, hotel or house based on your own need. Here are some great examples from the website. They are classified into 3 categories which you can search via the website.
- You can walk and handle going up a few stairs
- You can handle one step at a time.
- You need a fully accessible accommodation.
Click on the following pictures to see more detail information about accessibility inside and outside the property!
Handiscover has access to more than 150,000 hotels in over 50 countries. For more information about the accommodations, do not hesitate to chat with them via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or on the phone: +44 1550 400022 (UK).
Despite its cobblestone streets and general lack of public transportation, Florence is overall a quite accessible destination for wheelchair users. The city is relatively flat, most of the sites are close together, and many tourist attractions are accessible. Florence is a unique city, rich with its art, architecture and history but also friendly to wheelchair users.
Other Accessible Travel information about Florance
- 5 tips for flying as a wheelchair user
- Travel Tips-Money
- Travel Tips-Insurance
- Travel Tips-Visa
- Flights and Airport Assistance
- Car Rentals for Manual Wheelchair Users
- Florence Disabled Friendly Destination Guide
Other Gorgeous Travel Destinations in Italy
- Where to Go and How to Get Around Rome
- Where to Go and How to Get Around Venice
- Top 8 Wheelchair Accessible European Beaches
- Genoa Disabled Friendly Destination Guide
- Palermo Disabled Friendly Destination Guide
- Pompeii Disabled Friendly Destination Guide
- Pisa Disabled Friendly Destination Guide
Currently, we offer the £25 discount coupon for your first booking!!
About the Author:
Cory Lee is a wheelchair user, travel addict, and accessible travel writer. On his blog, Curb Free with Cory Lee, he hopes to inspire others to roll out of their comfort zones and see all the beauty our world has to offer.