Social inclusion is a distinctive cultural policy issue in Italy. However, it is pursued through initiatives mostly characterized by a fragmented, bottom-up approach, and it is still poorly investigated by social and statistical surveys.
A few initiatives are indeed promoted by the State, like “Take part!”, a call by the Ministry of Culture in favor of the marginal and peripheral areas of the country. Another example is Theatre in prison programs, which are strongly supported by the Ministry of Justice.
A growing number of individual initiatives, carried out separately or jointly by Regional and local authorities, associations of the Third Sector, public, and private cultural organizations, pursue social inclusion via cultural participation and engagement. In some instances, they are supported by UE funding programs (such as Creative Europe or Structural Funds). On the other hand, private foundations, like Compagnia di San Paolo, Fondazione Cariplo, Fondazione Unipol, and others, support both financially and technically many initiatives.
Museums, libraries, and theatre companies are particularly active in this direction. As also described in other sections of the report (eg. see chapter 2.5.6), they typically address disadvantaged groups, such as the targets listed below, to which specific projects are dedicated.
- Children, adolescents, and young people in conditions of educational poverty.
- People with moderate to severe physical, sensorial, or cognitive limitations.
- People with degenerative conditions (like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s), and their careers.
- People with special psychological needs (e.g., young people within the Autistic spectrum).
- Migrants newly arrived in Italy.
- Prison inmates.
- People with addictions.
In Italy, despite many good practices, the accessibility of the cultural offer for people with severe limitations remains well below actual needs. In 2015, for example, only 37.5% of Italian museums, both public and private, declared to be equipped with facilities for the disabled; only 20.4% offered material and information supports (tactile routes, catalogues, and explanatory panels in Braille, etc.) to favour a quality visiting experience by people with disabilities. Only 17.3% guaranteed free or reduced admission fee to disabled people and 14.4% to those accompanying them. In 2017, only 9.3% of people with severe disabilities over 13 years old declared to have taken part in at least three cultural activities (going to the cinema at least four times, to the theatre at least once, to a concert or to a museum, exhibition, or archaeological site). In the rest of the population without limitations, the corresponding share was 30.8%.
 For example: http://www.comune.bologna.it/ponmetro/servizi-per-linclusione-sociale/inclusione-e-innovazione-attraverso-nuovi-progetti-di-welfare-culturale/
 https://www.acri.it/2020/09/07/la-cultura-per-linclusione-sociale-e-la-rigenerazione-urbana-delle-periferie/; https://culturability.org/
 See, for instance, the Sciroppo di Teatro – Theatre Syrup – project by the Regione Emilia-Romagna, a programme of Arts on prescription, where the Regional Theatre Agency, Pediatricians and apothecaries cooperate in providing theatre shows at 2 euros to children in educational poverty and their parents (https://www.ater.emr.it/it/progetti-speciali/sciroppo-di-teatro). See also Nati per Leggere – Born to read, (https://www.natiperleggere.it/). The program is present in all Italian Regions and offers free reading activities to families with children up to 6 years of age, which are an important experience for the cognitive development of children and for the development of parents’ ability to grow with their children.
 See, for instance, the special program for the inclusion of the deaf and the blind and people with cognitive disability by the Colosseum park (https://parcocolosseo.it/education/attivita-accessibili/) in Rome; by the Galleria Borghese, also in Rome (https://galleriaborghese.beniculturali.it/en/visita/pubblici-fragili/), or the State Tactile Museum Omero in Ancona, entirely devoted to visitors with impaired sight (https://www.museoomero.it/en/).
 A growing number of museumsoffer dedicated programs. Among them, the Museo Benezzo Gozzoli (http://www.museobenozzogozzoli.it/en_GB/persone-con-alzheimer-e-chi-se-ne-prende-cura.html); the Museo Palazzo Magnani, and the network of about 60 Musei Toscani per l’Alzheimer, supported by the Regional Government (see chapter 2.7). People with Parkinson’s are the target of the Dance Well project, started by the Municipality of Bassano del Grappa (https://www.operaestate.it/en/dance-well).
 See, for instance,the Asperger’s Film Festival held at the MAXXI Museum in Rome (https://www.maxxi.art/events/asperger-film-festival-2021/), Music Therapy in Blue (http://www.tieniamente.it/music-therapy-in-blue-autismo-napoli/), a music therapy project for children with autism or other pervasive developmental disorders, which takes place in the province of Naples; The Tulipano Art – A dive into the blue, a project for the use and inclusion in the museum of people with autism and cognitive disabilities, at the National Archaeological Museum of Paestum (http://www.informareunh.it/accessibilita-dei-musei-alle-persone-con-autismo-un-bel-progetto-a-paestum/); Blue Museums gathers nationwide 16 museums (https://www.redattoresociale.it/article/notiziario/musei_blu_le_gallerie_italiane_per_gli_utenti_con_autismo#) on the occasion of the World Autism Awareness Day, with programmes dedicated to people with autism within a web platform aimed at promoting initiatives for equity, accessibility and inclusion of people with autism.
 Fondazione Alta Mane supports Interscambio Teatro con Migranti (https://www.altamaneitalia.org/interscambio-teatro-con-migranti/), a project of theatrical path involving migrant foreigners. Theatre on the run (http://artestudioteatro.it/progetti/project-2/) is a theatre workshop for migrant women dedicated to the issue of forced migration and takes place in reception centres for asylum seekers and in war zones affected by the relationship between refugees and the local population (Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Iran). The Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio was founded in 2002 by artists, intellectuals and cultural operators with the aim of enhancing the Piazza dell’Esquilino in Rome, the city’s multi-ethnic district par excellence. Since then, the Orchestra has represented a unique reality that finds its raison d’être in the mixing of textual and musical languages (https://www.orchestrapiazzavittorio.it/orchestra/). OVER – Beyond the horizon – Counter-narratives from the margins to the centre is promoted by the National Coordination of New Italian Generations (http://conngi.it/oltre/).
 For many years now, thanks to the continuity of some of its experiences and the artistic quality of its works and performers, Theatre in Prison has become an integral part of the history of Italian civil theatre.
 Working withpeople with addictions is particularly challenging. Among the most innovative projects in the last five years, see Posto Fisso – Fixed Place (https://www.ediglobalforum.org/experience/posto-fisso-fixed-place/) at the GAMeC in Bergamo. Fragole celesti – Blue/Heavenly Strawberries (http://www.fragolecelesti.it/le-fondamenta.html), that offers programmes of free speech, painting, photography, poetry, theatre, dance, music to women who have been abused or repeatedly sexually harassed and had sought alcohol or drugs as an unnecessary and harmful comfort. Collettivo Gli Acrobati (https://www.gliacrobati.com/collettivo-gliacrobati/), that works with groups of psychiatric patients with a double diagnosis (i.e. with a history of psychological and psychic distress accompanied by forms of pathological dependency), who are characterised by clear artistic inclinations and talents.
 Istat 2019. Conoscere il mondo della disabilità. Roma: Istituto Nazionale di Statistica.
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