Museums with special tactile paths

Touch the art. See the art.

Since 2012, the Uffizi Gallery has had a special itinerary that allows the visually impaired to enjoy some of its masterpieces too. We’re talking about the actual works of art, not plaster reproductions! Alongside them, there are reproductions of some of the major works (like the Botticelli’s Venus) and Braille panels in Italian and English.

The Uffizi by Touch path keeps on being extended: 13 more artworks, in the Hall of the Horse, were added last year, along with the creation of a Braille map showing the exact location of the works. braille Now, thanks to the T-VedO project, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Florence, a new “touchable” artwork has been installed next to the original one: the Pala of Santa Lucia de’ Magnoli by Domenico Veneziano (around 1445), one of the most famous masterpieces in the Florentine Gallery.

Pala of Santa Lucia de’ Magnoli by Domenico Veneziano and reproduction
Pala of Santa Lucia de’ Magnoli by Domenico Veneziano and reproduction

The Uffizi by Touch path is free and no reservations are required. As for Florence’s other museums, these are the ongoing special projects: Bargello National Museum – a tactile path dedicated to 16th-century sculptures. San Marco Museum – a bas-relief reproduction of the Annunciazione by Beato Angelico. Davanzati Palace – furniture and furnishings can be touched. Orsanmichele Church – a guided tour allows some architecture and sculptures to be touched Cenacolo of Andrea del Sarto – relief reproductions of 6 famous paintings, the originals of which are in the Uffizi Gallery. Villa Corsini (Castello) – a tactile path with 11 original sculptures, part of the Uffizi’s collection.

Reproduction of the Annunciazione by Beato Angelico
Reproduction of the Annunciazione by Beato Angelico

Finally, on May 6, 2015, the Gallery of Modern Art in Palazzo Pitti, has inaugurated the new multi-sensory path "Form and matter through touch", with 10 sculptures intended for tactile reading. A path designed not only for the visually impaired but also for children. The selected works are masterpieces by artists such as Giovanni Dupré, Vincenzo Gemito and Adriano Cecioni, made with different materials and evidence of the development of sculpture from the nineteenth century to the early decades of the twentieth century. Special audio guides and fact sheets in Braille or large print complete the route.

Other towns in Tuscany have special tactile path in their museums. In Pistoia, the Antico Palazzo dei Vescovi, houses on the ground floor the brand-new Museo Tattile offering interesting activities suitable for the visually impaired. There is a tactile map of Pistoia and some models of historical buildings such as the Town Hall, the Cathedral, the Baptistery and the Basilica della Madonna dell’Umiltà. A series of explanatory panels in Braille and samples of the materials used as marble, stone and terracotta, accompanies the models.

In Cortona (Arezzo), the Etruscan Museum MAEC has panel-guides in Braille and copies of the exhibited operas can be touched by visitors.

In Pisa, a scale model for the tactile exploration of the Piazza dei Miracoli square is located in the information area of the Museum of Sinopie.

In Grosseto, inside the Cathedral there is a new tactile path for the visually impaired.

This article was originally written by Leila 

Cover image credit: Kotomi

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