Uffizi by Touch is the name of the programme that the Uffizi Gallery put in place in 2009. Ever-growing, it now counts twenty artworks that can be experienced by visitors with limited or no sight. Many of these are real ancient sculptures, which blind visitors are permitted to touch when wearing special latex gloves. For the paintings, some of the most famous works, like Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Domenico Veneziano’s Saint Lucy Altarpiece, are available in relief panel. In addition, each of these works are supported with panels written in braille and in high-contrast print. A braille map is available showing the exact location of the works. The Uffizi by Touch path is free and no reservations are required.
The Gallery of Modern Art in Palazzo Pitti offers a 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 Antonio Canova, 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.
As for Florence’s other museums, these are the ongoing special projects:
Bargello National Museum offers a tactile path dedicated to 16th-century sculptures.
San Marco Museum includes a bas-relief reproduction of the Annunciazione by Beato Angelico.
Davanzati Palace – furniture and furnishings can be touched by low-vision visitors.
Orsanmichele Church – a guided tour allows some architecture and sculptures to be touched.
Cenacolo of Andrea del Sarto – relief reproductions of six 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.
The city museums of Florence managed by Mus.e offer occasional special events for the hard of sight or hearing.