Project Description

TOUR OF FLORENCE FOR THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED

Marcel Proust said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes”. I think that traveling is a pleasure for everyone and should be a right for everyone, but it has to be accessible, to every kind of visitor. I began my personal experience with the visually impaired some years ago while attending a workshop on accessible tourism in Italy. I discovered a world I didn’t think could exist, people who used touch instead of sight to see the world. After that I went to the Museo Tattile Statale “Omero” in Ancona (Homer State Tactile Museum) to get certified through a training course for tourism operators willing to work with the visually impaired. My adventure then began, realising that I was the one taught by my visually impaired travellers. Since then I collaborate with the Italian Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted (UICI).

A CITY TO TOUCH

In my tours of Florence for the visually impaired I always have a walk in the city to first get oriented to the dimensions, sounds and smells. I use some scale models of the main buildings like the Duomo or Palazzo Vecchio. We have in Florence a couple of bronze models of the city which are tools, useful for easily understanding structures through touch. We are also fortunate to have the possibility of touching several monuments, such as the doors of the Baptistery, many statues in museums (with gloves) and in the squares (like the Piglet Fountain). One of the greatest emotions you can have is to have the chance to touch Michelangelo’s masterpieces at Accademia Gallery, the so-called Prisoners, the unfinished statues. And don’t forget that Florence is a city for foodies, so the taste is a sense that we won’t neglect!

SMELL, HEARING, TASTE

Discovering Florence can be a multisensory experience. The echo of the steps or the voices’ resound make you understand the vastness of a church. The smell of different fragrances in a herbal store talks about century of expert friars making ointments, lotions, medicaments and perfumes. The delightful taste of a fruit gelato in summertime or the strong tanning of a red wine introduce you to the world of the good table, a fundamental part of the Florentine culture. There are so many layers to unveil and I’m eager to help you to disclose them with my special tour of Florence for the visually impaired.

 

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