Uffizi launches book that tells disabled people about Botticelli's Primavera

On the occasion of the International Day for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Uffizi presented several initiatives for people with disabilities: among them, a book telling them about Botticelli's Primavera.

The Uffizi launches new projects for the disabled: the setting to present them was, yesterday, December 2, the International Day for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which gave the Florence museum the opportunity to introduce some initiatives. These are projects, services and tools aimed at expanding the possibilities of enjoyment for all, thus testifying to the commitment to guarantee the right of participation in cultural and recreational life, enshrined in Article 30 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Among the initiatives fielded by the institute is a book dedicated to Botticelli’s Primavera, the first volume of the Uffizi Galleries’ “tactile” series, created with the aim of proposing the great masterpieces of painting through sensory exploration and audio content. The book, designed by the museum’s Department for Education - Cultural Mediation and Accessibility Area, contains texts in Italian and English in enlarged characters and color images, texts in Braille and detailed relief tables. The contents are structured taking into account three perceptual levels: visual, tactile and auditory. By means of QR codes, it is possible to access audio descriptions that elaborate on the contents and a practical guide, useful to orient the blind reader in exploring the pages of the book.The volume was produced with the scientific collaboration of the Italian Union of the Blind and Visually Impaired of Florence, printed by Zamorani Editore, and will be available for purchase in the bookshops of the Uffizi Galleries museums.

The initiatives do not end there. Soon, in fact, the museum will be equipped with a new tactile path, renewed and enriched, compared to the previous one, with new original sculptures to touch, accompanied by captions with texts in enlarged characters and in Braille, both Italian and English, and which will mainly concern ancient statuary (the works: Molossian Dogs, I-II century AD.; Portrait of Nero, 54-68 AD; Bust of Caracalla, early 3rd century AD; Head of Diadumenus, 1st century AD; Sarcophagus so-called ’of the General’, 160-180 AD.; Portrait of Diadumenian, so-called Geta, c. 217 A.D.; Head of the so-called Prince of Syria, mid-2nd century A.D.; Head of unknown on herm, so-called Geta, 240-250 A.D.). Captions and a map of the museum itinerary will then be added, made more accessible through the inclusion of Braille texts and relief graphics.

Still, the Uffizi continues to enhance its accessibility not only with on-site tools, but also with online tools: the publication of more video descriptions in Italian Sign Language and International Sign Language of the Uffizi masterpieces in addition to those already on the institutional website goes in this direction. The narrations, produced under the scientific supervision of the Florence ENS, are conducted by Nicola Della Maggiora, a young deaf theater and television actor, and are accessible from the Uffizi Galleries website. Also on the website is now the Uffizi’s social history (social narrative), a story told through images and simple texts that serves to prepare the experience at the museum, learning about its access modes, spaces and services before even getting to make the visit. Produced with the scientific collaboration of Autism Florence, the social history of the Uffizi, in the form of a Pdf file that can be downloaded from the website, becomes a useful tool for boys and girls with autism (and their caregivers) who intend to visit the Uffizi with the help of the Uffizi Activity Bag, a special bag with educational materials and stress-relieving objects, which is now available again for free rental and by reservation (by writing to uffiziaccessibili@beniculturali.it).

“To be truly inclusive, the museum needs to invest in different areas by exploring every means to facilitate the visit and understanding of the works,” stresses director Eike Schmidt. “That is why the Uffizi is starting with a complex and structured project that meets the needs of as many categories as possible. Art must be a companion for everyone.”

“This is an important day for us because it gives us the opportunity to make known all the work we do in the service of the public and what the goals of the Uffizi Galleries are in terms of social inclusion and participation,” says Anna Soffici, coordinator of the Cultural Mediation and Accessibility Area of the Education Department. “But it is also and above all a moment to thank the associations that have guided us along this path.”

“The Italian Union of the Blind and Visually Impaired of Florence,” stresses Niccolò Zeppi of the Union, “is pleased and proud of the long-standing collaboration established with the Uffizi Galleries, which has allowed the visually impaired to have access to a cultural and artistic heritage of inestimable value. Thanks to the Uffizi Galleries and its continuous proposals on the subject of accessible and tactile routes, non and visually impaired people have been able to enjoy a real journey in an inclusive museum proposal. For many years our association has been working to promote the concept of accessibility in our city’s museum institutions in order to enable active and integrated citizenship in the cultural sphere. Well, in this broad panorama, the Uffizi Galleries has distinguished itself for the spirit of collaboration and listening necessary for the realization of an increasing number of initiatives as witnessed by the presentation of the Tactile Book on Sandro Botticelli’s ”Primavera“ on the occasion of the International Day dedicated to persons with disabilities 2021. The goal is to be able to renew also in the future this collaboration that has proud our association all these years.”

“The Ente Nazionale Sordi of Florence,” says provincial president Roberto Petrone, “expresses its satisfaction with the fruitful and excellent collaboration established with the Uffizi Galleries for accessibility for people. There is much more work to be done but together we have anticipated all the goals, such as the recent recognition of the Italian Sign Language approved on May 19, 2021.”

“Art makes it possible to communicate and share emotions and moods even without the need for words,” says Maria Carla Morganti, president of Autism Florence. “The collections of the Uffizi Galleries are perfect for this purpose and Autism Florence is pleased to count on this collaboration.”

Pictured: the book presentation

Uffizi launches book that tells disabled people about Botticelli's Primavera
Uffizi launches book that tells disabled people about Botticelli's Primavera

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