Bringing Photography to the Blind – Alinari Photography Museum of Florence

Stabilimento by Giacomo Brogi, rendered tactile for the blind in the Alinari photography museum of Florence

Think of art in Florence and one automatically thinks of Botticelli, Michelangelo and other great Renaissance artists on display in the must-see Florence museums of the Uffizi Gallery and Accademia Museum.

The original Stabilimento by Giacomo Brogi (left) next to the tactile version on the right.

But one little-known museum in Florence, the Alinari photography museum, is dedicated to the preservation and display of another art form, photography.


With a great collection of images, the Alinari museum aims to preserve the great array of photographs and display them to the public in a range of innovating and interesting exhibits.


One unique exhibit definitely worth visiting is the Touch Museum.

With the help of the Region of Tuscany and the Stamperia Braille in Florence, the Alinari National Museum of Photography is hosting a special instillation of relief interpretations of photographs to allow the blind to ‘see’ the collection of around 20 selected artworks with their fingertips. The tactile images will be displayed along with their originals so that both sighted and unsighted people can experience these photographic works, meaning that whilst the blind can touch the images, the sighted can also think about how the blind ‘see’ the images.


The Stamperia Braille has been in Florence since 1979, although it has existed around the world since the beginning of the 1900s. specializing in books and images in Braille, this print house is bringing its experience in rendering images into tactile dimensions whilst keeping faithful to the artists’ original imagery.


The Stamperia Braille takes the images and makes them three dimensional, adding texture to the photographs. For example, for the Giacomo Brogi work, ‘Stabilimento’, featuring the rocky cliffs of Capri surrounded by the sea, pine bark is used to transmit the rough surface of the rocks compared to the gentle aluminum-covered-with-tissue-paper sea.


From 13 June to 30 July 2011 the Alinary museum is also hosting the exhibition of Nicola Lo Calzo titled ‘Morgante’, the title of which is taken from the poem of the same name by Louis Pulci, who was himself a dwarf in the Medici court. In the poem it is the nickname given to a giant, a name used tongue-in-cheek by Lo Calzo as the title of his touching exhibition of photos of dwarfs from around the world that examines the perceptions of and roles in society that dwarfs have had and have to this day around the world.


A visit to the Alinari museum in Florence is certainly an usual and great thing to do in Florence. For more information visit the Alinari National Museum of Photography website.


To explore Florence’s most famous museum, the Uffizi Gallery, we have The Masterpieces of the Uffizi Gallery Tour. There is also our skip-the-line Accademia visit –The Original David Tour to see Michelangelo’s David. Combined with a small-group walking tour of Florence, Original Florence Walk to hear more about Italian traditions and the fascinating history of Florence with an excellent English-speaking tour guide, we have the Florence tours discounted package, Florence in One Glorious Day (or 2).

Upgrade this package to include the exciting and historical collection of portraits in the Vasari Corridor with our exclusive-entry Vasari Corridor tour which follows on from the The Masterpieces of the Uffizi Gallery Tour in one great discounted tour package of Florence in Two Glorious Days (or 3).

We also have great things to do in Tuscany from Florence, and to the Cinque Terre and beyond.

Visit the Artviva Walking Tours website for more wonderful things to see and do in Italy, including great tours in Florence, Rome, Venice, Cinque Terre, Umbria, Naples, Pompeii and more, and email us on for more information.

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