Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy

Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy

Florence is the capital city of the region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence in Italy.

Pisa is also a city in Tuscany, on the right bank of the mouth of the River Arno on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa.

Florence takes about an hour and 15 minutes to drive from Livorno.

Florence is a small city, and it’s possible to find your way round with a map.

Many sights await the visitor to Florence notably the statue of Michaelangelo’s David, the Duomo (Cathedral) and Ponte Vecchio, the most famous bridge in Florence lined with many tourist and jewelry shops.

Pisa, with it’s famous leaning tower is also an option. Both Pisa and Florence are accessible by train from Livorno.

Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. However, for cruise travelers with just one precious day in port, it’s impossible to see it all. And while Florence is no doubt the richest destination of all, but with it’s 1 hour and 15 minute drive using up your time in port; Livorno’s north Tuscan locale means that other cities; Pisa, with its famous leaning tower; the walled city of Lucca; and San Gimignano, with 14 of its medieval towers still intact; are also options.

There are many beaches close to Livorno including Viareggio, Vada, Cecina and Donoratico.

There are plenty opportunities to sample the delights of Italian cuisine in the many cafes and restaurants. A wide selection of pasta, rice, pizza, fish and meat dishes can all be found on menus.

The disabled cruiser visiting Florence/Pisa will find that Livorno cruise port accessibility presents several obstacles for the disabled cruiser. Visiting Florence, Pisa, and Lucca by accessible public transportation is possible but can get a little complicated.

The Livorno cruise port accessibility challenges start inside the port. Large ships dock in the Livorno commercial port. Due to safety concerns around the industrial equipment in the port, cruise passengers are forbidden from walking/rolling out of the port. Consequently, you will either need to either book an accessible Livorno excursion or take the port shuttle bus to exit the port. Many of the port shuttle buses have steps to enter them. You will need to have your cruise ship staff request the wheelchair accessible shuttle the day before. If you book a wheelchair accessible Livorno excursion, the guide will meet you at your ship.

Florence is a great city for disabled tourists to visit. The city has numerous things to see and do and is not nearly as spread out and hilly as Rome. Most of the tourist attractions in Florence are concentrated in the center of the city within walking/rolling distance of each other. In most cases, disabled travelers will not have to find accessible transportation to get around town.

The city center of Florence doesn’t have any hills. However, most parts of the Florence city center have small cobblestones or large paving stones which can be challenging for wheelchair users and other disabled cruisers. Some areas near the Accademia and near the train station have paved streets and sidewalks. No bus routes connect the Duomo, Accademia, Ponte Vecchio, and Uffizi Gallery. Fortunately they aren’t located too far apart but disabled cruisers will still need to walk/roll several blocks over cobblestones to get between them. Where the buses do travel, wheelchair users may encounter some difficulties using them. The wheelchair ramps do not always work, and cars and motorcycles may prevent the buses from pulling all the way to the curb leaving you a 18 inch step to get down to the street.

The outdoor leather market is located on the street that runs to the north of the Medici Chapels. The booths are easy to visit in a wheelchair. To find it, just look for the red dome of the Medici Chapels that looks like a smaller version of the Duomo’s dome. The loggia on Piazza della Signoria square (in front of the Palazzo Vecchio) has numerous statues that you can visit for free including the Rape of the Sabine Women, an equestrian statue of Cosimo I, and a copy of Michelangelo’s David. It’s located between the Ponte Vecchio and the Duomo cathedral.

The two most popular museums in Florence, the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia (which houses Michelangelo’s David) provide free admission to a disabled guest and one companion. When you make your reservation be sure to mention that you are disabled.

Where You’re Docked

Visitors for Florence or Pisa dock at the Cruise Terminal, Calata Punto Franco in Livorno, which is the commercial port. It is around half a mile from the City Center and most cruise lines offer shuttle buses (sometimes chargeable).

Your cruise ship will be greeted by numerous buses for excursions and shuttle buses to take you into Livorno. Cruise passengers are not allowed to walk/roll out of the dock to the port entrance due to the large amount of heavy machinery unloading and loading ships and must take the port shuttle.

Taxis are readily available at the dock also.

Good to Know

Just as you would in any town heavily populated by tourists, beware of pickpocketing and petty theft, as well as Vespa-snatching thieves. Depending on the time of year, shops tend to close from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. for lunch. Beware of traffic; particularly motor scooters, which often are driven at high speeds and are careless of pedestrians. Before booking your cruise, make sure the ship’s call at Florence is not on a Monday, when major museums and galleries are closed.

Getting Around

By Taxi: If traffic isn’t a huge factor, it takes about an hour and 15 minutes to drive to Florence from Livorno. Taxis line up outside the ship; one-way prices can push 200 euros, but if you decide to splurge on the ride, your best bet is to negotiate a round-trip fare so the driver will wait around for you. Taxi drivers will also happily offer daylong tours of Florence and Pisa. However, Florence is a small city, and the traffic can get clogged. With a map, though, it’s not difficult to find your way around.

By Train: Ships typically provide shuttles to Livorno’s Piazza Grande; the train station is then a 15-minute cab ride away. Getting to Florence by train takes about 90 minutes, and there are several “early morning” departures. Trains return to Livorno from Florence’s Santa Maria Novella Station. Check the train schedule just prior to your cruise.

By Motorcoach Shuttle: Most cruise ships offer “shuttle service” (a motorcoach to and from Florence) for those who want to travel independently. Because of the distance and the likelihood of traffic problems, we’ve found these to be a good deal. Plus, guides sometimes accompany the motorcoach and can offer recommendations for things to do and see, as well as places to eat.

By Rental Car: Hertz and Avis set up tables at the dock in Livorno. One warning: Driving can be challenging, and even though they advertise that it’s easy to park in Florence, that’s simply not true. Unless you’re planning to visit other Tuscan spots, such as Lucca or San Gimignano, it is recommend to use your ship’s motorcoach transportation.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

The official currency is the euro. There are plenty of ATM machines and exchange bureaus in town.

Language

The official language in Florence/Pisa is Italian, but at least basic English is spoken in most tourist spots; phrase books can come in handy.

Shopping

Leather goods — jackets, belts, wallets, and even key fobs and wastebaskets — are all over the city, with a particularly good selection at the “leather school,” which is tucked behind the Church of Santa Croce. Prices can vary, with the highest prices in the area around the Duomo. Caution: Leather jackets purchased there might be beautiful, but stick with classic styles. What’s appealing in the Mediterranean sunlight can sometimes look a little “off” back home. High-end Italian designer fashions are also available, though at high prices. But the most uniquely Florentine options are the many varieties of hand-marbled paper.

People generally go to Florence for the art and architecture, rather than the food, but fans of meat (especially bistecca Fiorentina, a thick and delicious cut of beef from local cattle) and authentic pizza will find something to enjoy almost anywhere that’s not in a major tourist area. Italy is also a major producer of wine and limoncello, which serve as memorable complements to just about any meal.

Points of Interest

  • Duomo and Baptistery – Brunelleschi engineered the innovative Gothic dome gracing the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. As for the stunning bronze doors of the Baptistery, Michelangelo dubbed them “the Gates of Paradise.”

  • Accademia (Academy of Fine Arts) – Michelangelo’s David is on display at the Academy of Fine Arts – the Accademia. Disabled cruisers should enter the Accademia by going up the ramp at the exit.
  • Field of Miracles and/or Leaning Tower of Pisa Pisa’s Campo dei Miracoli is home to the Duomo, Baptistery, Campo Santo, and the famous Leaning Tower which took over 177 years to build and has been leaning since construction began in 1173. The Disabled Cruiser will find wheelchair ramps at the Baptisery and Cathedral during your tour of the Field of Miracles. A wheelchair accessible toilet is available at the Field of Miracles.
  • Ponte Vecchio & Piazza Della Signoria – Florence’s most famous bridge looks as though it should have medieval blacksmiths instead of modern shops. In Piazza della Signoria you’ll find a copy of the statue of David, and sculptures by Cellini.
  • Uffizi Museum and Gallery – Significant in architecture and art, The Uffizi is one of the oldest and most famous museums of the Western world, rivaled only by the Louvre in its collection of Renaissance masterpieces. Disabled cruisers will need to have someone pick up their tickets on the west side of the courtyard (there are steps to get to it) and wait for them by using the ramp on the northeast corner of the courtyard, closest end to the Palazzo Vecchio.
  • Church of Santa Croce – Legend is that Santa Croce was founded by St. Francis himself. The superb 14th century church is the final resting place of many noble Italians including Michelangelo, Machiavelli and Galileo.
  • Tuscany Villages – Tuscany has rolling slopes are covered with vineyards and silvery green olive groves, providing lots of wonderful photo opportunities with many quaint towns such as Lucca and San Gimignano.

Florence/Pisa Accessible Excursions

If you’re only going to do one driving tour during your cruise, Tuscany is the place to do it. So much of the magnificence of the region isn’t found inside a building and can’t be viewed from a motor coach traveling on a major highway. Accessible tours led by a professionally licensed tour guide who can take you along the back roads of this beautiful region of Italy for an experience you won’t soon forget.

Accessible Florence Highlights Cruise Excursion

A professionally licensed tour guide will greet you with a wheelchair accessible van at the cruise dock to start your eight hour Accessible Florence Highlights Cruise Excursion.  After a scenic one and half hour drive to Florence, you’ll stop at Piazzale Michelangelo where you will have a great view of the city. From here you will hear about the history and culture of Florence and Tuscany including the most important places and artists like Dante Alighieri, Michelangelo, Rafael, Giotto, Tiziano, the Medici family, and others.

Some of the places that you’ll see and hear about on this handicapped accessible Florence excursion are the Duomo cathedral, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Santa Croce church, Piazza della Repubblica, and the famous Ponte Vecchio. If you’d like to see a non-tourist part of Florence, your tour guide can bring you to Fiesole, one of the hills of Florence where you can admire the residential area and a beautiful view of the city from above.

Your tour will include a reservation into the world famous Uffizi Gallery or to the Accademia (home of Michelangelo’s David) depending on which one you would like to see when you make your accessible Florence cruise excursion reservation. Visiting both the Uffizi and Accademia is possible, but if you do you won’t have time to see anything else in the city.

The Accessible Florence Highlights Cruise Excursion uses a wheelchair accessible van, the terrain in the Florence city center is flat, and the tourist attractions are not very far apart. Your tour route will involve some mild cobblestones, sometimes uneven paving stones that cover the streets in Florence, and will avoid the severe cobblestones as much as possible.

Florence & Pisa Handicapped Accessible Tour from Livorno

The 8 hour Florence & Pisa Accessible Tour starts with a professionally licensed tour guide greeting you with a wheelchair accessible van at the cruise dock. After a scenic one and half hour drive to Florence, you’ll stop at Piazzale Michelangelo where you will have a great view of the city. From here you will hear about the history and culture of Florence and Tuscany including the most important places and artists like Dante Alighieri, Michelangelo, Rafael, Giotto, Tiziano, the Medici family, and others.

Some of the places that you’ll see and hear about on this handicapped accessible Florence excursion are the Duomo cathedral, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Santa Croce church, Piazza della Repubblica, and the famous Ponte Vecchio. If you’d like to see a non-tourist part of Florence, your tour guide can bring you to Fiesole, one of the hills of Florence where you can admire the residential area and a beautiful view of the city from above.

Your tour will include a reservation into the world famous Uffizi Gallery or to the Accademia (home of Michelangelo’s David), your choice. 

On your return journey to Livorno, you will stop for a brief accessible tour of Pisa. You can visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa although there is no elevator inside it, but you can get a photo of you holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It’s not just a photo op though; you’ll also learn about the history of the Field of Miracles while admiring this beautiful small Tuscan town. The nearby Baptisery and Cathedral have wheelchair ramp entrances available. The wheelchair accessible van will drop you off as close as possible to the Leaning Tower and the Field of Miracles. A wheelchair accessible toilet is available along the tour route at the Field of Miracles.

The Florence & Pisa Accessible Tour uses a wheelchair accessible van, the terrain in the Florence city center is flat, and the tourist attractions are not very far apart. Your tour route will involve some mild cobblestones, sometimes uneven paving stones that cover the streets in Florence, and will avoid the severe cobblestones as much as possible.

Florence, Pisa, and Tuscan Winery Handicapped Excursion

The  8 hour Florence, Pisa, & Tuscan Winery Handicapped Excursion starts at the cruise dock where a professionally licensed tour guide will greet you with a wheelchair accessible van. Your excursion starts with a scenic one and half hour drive to Florence, where you’ll stop at Piazzale Michelangelo to have a great view of the city. From here your guide will inform you about the history and culture of Florence and Tuscany. 

You will hear about artists like Dante Alighieri, Michelangelo, Rafael, Giotto, Tiziano, and the Medici family. Some of the places that you’ll see and hear about on this Tuscany accessible excursion are the Florence Duomo cathedral, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Santa Croce church, Piazza della Repubblica, and the famous Ponte Vecchio. 

Your tour will include a reservation into the world famous Uffizi Gallery or to the Accademia (home of Michelangelo’s David) depending on which one you would like to see when you make your accessible cruise excursion reservation. Visiting both the Uffizi and Accademia is possible, but if you do you won’t have time to see anything else in the city.

Upon leaving Florence, you’ll drive through the beautiful hills in Tuscany to visit an Italian winery with a real vineyard. You’ll get to experience Chianti wine tasting and snack on local olive oil, salami, and bruschetta.

On your return journey to Livorno, you will stop for a brief accessible tour of Pisa. You can visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa although there is no elevator inside it. The nearby Baptistery and Cathedral have wheelchair ramp entrances available. The wheelchair accessible van will drop you off as close as possible to the Leaning Tower and the Field of Miracles. A wheelchair accessible toilet is available along the tour route at the Field of Miracles.

The Florence, Pisa, & Tuscan Winery Handicapped Excursion uses a wheelchair accessible van, the terrain in the Florence city center and Pisa’s Field of Miracles is flat; and the Florence tourist attractions are not very far apart. Additionally, the winery is step-free. Your tour route will involve some mild cobblestones, sometimes uneven paving stones that cover the streets in Florence, and will avoid the severe cobblestones as much as possible.

Pisa & Lucca Accessible Cruise Excursion

On the 8 hour Pisa & Lucca Accessible Cruise Excursion, you’ll visit the two closest tourist attractions to the Livorno cruise port: the famous Field of Miracles with the Leaning Tower of Pisa, as well as the medieval walled city of Lucca. Because you’ll spend less time on the highway, you’ll spend more time enjoying two of the flattest and most accessible cities in Tuscany.

A professionally licensed tour guide will greet you with a wheelchair accessible van at the cruise dock to start your excursion. After a quick drive to Pisa, you’ll have an accessible tour of the Field of Miracles. You can view the Leaning Tower of Pisa from the outside; there is no elevator inside it. The nearby Baptistery and Cathedral have wheelchair ramp entrances available.

Although the town of Pisa is famous for its leaning tower, the town itself has over two thousand years of history. Pisa was a seafarer republic which conquered many territories and states all over the Mediterranean sea. On this accessible tour of Lucca and Pisa, you’ll see numerous sights outside of the Field of Miracles such as the Lungarni, San Michele church, the Piagge Park, the Certosa, and San Rossore Park.

After visiting Pisa, your air-conditioned wheelchair accessible van will bring you to the medieval town of Lucca where the town walls still remain. The 4.2 km medieval wall has a smooth path on the top of it that pedestrians (including wheelchair users) can use.  There are numerous accessible restaurants to choose from for lunch.

On the Pisa & Lucca Accessible Tour both of the cities are very flat; they have few severe cobblestones; and the distances along the walking/rolling portion of the route are short. Additionally, the tour guide can help push manual wheelchair users. The wheelchair accessible Lucca tour has some minor cobblestones and some smooth pavement. This accessible tour will use wheelchair accessible ramps to get onto the Lucca medieval wall. From there, you’ll be able to get some great views of the city.

The wheelchair accessible van on the Pisa & Lucca Accessible Cruise Excursion will drop you off as close as possible to the Leaning Tower and the Field of Miracles. On this accessible Pisa tour, your tour guide will use the wheelchair ramps during your tour of the Field of Miracles in Pisa. A wheelchair accessible toilet is available along the tour route at the Field of Miracles.