Tuscany has pretty impressive sceneries that range from a romantic coastline and archipelago to the majestic peaks of the Apuan Alps and the Monte Amiata, Italy's highest extinct volcano. Its most famous landscape, without a doubt, are the rolling hills of the Val d'Orcia, a valley located south-east of Siena.
Among the Regions of Italy, Tuscany isn't the flattest one for sure and with all those hills and mountains it may seem pretty unaccessible for travelers with disabilities, families with very young children or senior travelers with some difficulties walking up hilly areas. But it's not always true! Along the coast and along some alluvial plain there are some of the nicest and flattest cities in Tuscany! Check out our list to find the city with no hills or higher elevation that best suits you:
Lucca is one of the flattest and most accessible cities in Italy. Lucca is surrounded by large walls, all accessible through large paved ramps that are only for pedestrians and bicycles. On the walls there are some restaurants for lunch, dinner or simply a snack. The most important churches, such as San Michele in foro and San Martino have ramps. Museums are usually fully wheelchair accessible. You should also consider that within the city walls, Lucca is mainly car free and almost each gate has a parking area with spaces reserved for persons with disabilities. Explore a city of art is sometimes very difficult, so it is necessary to have an idea of what are the best itineraries to follow with wheelchairs, where the accessible bathrooms are located and which are the accessible monuments and churches! The project "Freewheeling" (A Ruota Libera) has tested some routes through the most famous Italian cities to find the perfect itinerary fully accessible. An example? This is one of their suggested tour in Lucca (ITA only):
In the 19th century, Viareggio became a popular tourist destination for the high society in Europe, therefore here you can admire some beautiful example of Liberty-style buildings decorated with valuable pottery. The city is very flat and has a very charming and accessible promenade, where Viareggio's Carnival is held. It is one of the most famous carnival parade in Italy and Europe and every year it attracts many tourists from around the world. Traditionally the carnival takes place in February, but occasionally the beach town of Viareggio hosts a summer edition of it along the “Passeggiata” along the sea.
At first sight, Florence doesn't seems the most accessible city in Tuscany, but the city center is flat and the tourist attractions are not very far apart one from each other. Sometimes the paving stones that cover the streets of Florence can be tough, but you can easily visit the city highlights including Piazzale Michelangelo, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Giotto bell tower, Piazza della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio, Piazza Santa Croce, Piazza della Repubblica, Michelangelo’s David and the Uffizi Gallery.
Livorno (or Leghorn), located 20 kilometers from Pisa and 100 from Florence, is the most important port city in Tuscany. It was built under the Medici family as the “ideal Italian Renaissance city”, with fortified walls and canals. The architect Buontalenti designed the “ideal city” with the harbor, the residential area, Piazza Grande, the Cathedral, Via Grande and Medici moats, which are still navigable. This city has always been considered cosmopolitan and multicultural. We have written a post about what to see and do in Livorno but, most importantly, we had the occasion to try a Segway tour thanks to Go Gas Free and their segway tours are barrier-free! They use the Genny™ 2.0, a special Segway for people with disabilities. Genny™ 2.0 allows you to move just moving the upper part of your body forward to move forward, and backward to slow down and brake. Lastly, Go Gas Free offers tours in Pisa, Lucca and Livorno, we highly recommend you to contact them for further information.
Orbetello, in southern Tuscany, is located in the middle of a lagoon and linked to Monte Argentario by a road built on an artificial embankment, which divided the lagoon into two parts. We highly recommend this area for nature and beach lovers!
In the Natural State Reserve "Dune della Feniglia" there's a path that allows people with disabilities to get to the beach through the various accesses (the second one coming from Orbetello). At the entrance gate is necessary to ring the bell of the Forestry Corps office to be able to drive up to the parking area, just across the path leading to the beach. From here there is a trail of about 400 meters on a special platform with two exchangers, then there's another platform. The platform continues till "La Tenda Gialla", where there is also a food court. The platform to the beach is available from June to September.
Pisa is fairly flat, but since it is crossed by the Arno river, it is full of bridges. Once again, the project "Freewheeling" (A Ruota Libera) has tested some tours with Monica Quassinti, a Paralympic athlete (Tennis) born in this city.
The best period to visit Pisa is from March, when the Pisan new year's day takes place, till December. You should know that June is a very special month in town, because every year there are hundreds of initiatives planned for this month that is called “Giugno Pisano”. If you want to explore the surroundings, enjoy the sunset in Marina di Pisa and explore the wild side of this area thanks to the accessible pathways in the Migliarino San Rossore Massaciuccoli Park.
The original version of this article was written by Leila Firusbakht.