City: Florence

Year: 2017

The city of Florence (Italy) welcomed its first inclusive play area in November 2017, and credit for the project goes to the Niccolò Galli Foundation, in partnership with Proludic.

The Niccolò Galli Foundation was launched by Giovanni Galli, a former goalkeeper and part of the Italian team that won the World Cup in 1982, in homage to his son Niccolò, who was also a footballer. The foundation spearheads charity and social initiatives for young people.

With these aims in mind, the foundation’s members donated an all-new play area to the city of Florence. The inclusive play area is located in the heart of the Campo di Marte park and is available to all users, both able-bodied and disabled children alike. 

Proludic SRL was contracted to design the play area with the following three objectives:

  • Design an accessible and inclusive play area
  • Increase the play area’s appeal by creating a specific theme
  • Produce a unique play area with original items of play equipment

After choosing a football theme, Proludic designed the play area to resemble a football stadium using an approach that incorporated universal design principles for including disabled children in playgrounds.
The play equipment is stimulating, innovative and attractive to allow children to have greater fun and foster interaction between children of all ages and abilities. The play activities are designed to develop motor, cognitive, social and sensory skills for all play area users.
The sports theme is not only reflected in the play equipment, but also in the surfacing to make it an integral part of the play experience.

The play area:

First of all, children access a totally inclusive rotating play feature before venturing along a small pathway to reach the “stadium” with its theme-based multi-play structure.

Before stepping onto the pitch, “players”  need to go through the dressing room (represented by the benches beneath the stairs), while supporters get comfortable on the terraces (stairs) and journalists take up position in the press box (bridge connecting the two towers), who can communicate using the tubophone.

Then the players can enter the pitch… just in time for a quick photo before the match (play panel), and now they are ready for the kick-off.

The goalkeepers for each team move about on each side of the goal and try to save shots from the opposing team (represented by the swings); the ball rolls across the pitch (springer) and the players show off their acrobatics (trampoline).

When the final whistle blows, all the spectators can celebrate the victory by whizzing down the slide or scaling the net.

The wet pour surfacing features a colour combination of red, purple and blue as a reference to the colours of the teams that Niccolò played for.
The logo of the Galli Foundation adorns the panels on the play structures.
The different shades of green imitate the colours of the grass on a football pitch, while the black and white are reminiscent of the colours of the ball.

Proludic designed and installed the entire project.
Our experience in bespoke solutions and our expertise in designing inclusive and disability-friendly playgrounds played a major role in swaying the Galli Foundation’s decision to work with Proludic.

Children are grateful for having a place where they can play and have fun together, and the local officials have stressed just how important and necessary it was to prioritise an inclusive design:

It’s a red letter day for the city of Florence, which now has its very first inclusive play area. Overcoming architectural obstacles is not enough. You’ve also got to overcome the “mental obstacles”. This type of play area will enable children to play together without any prejudice or discrimination.

Sara Funaro, Local Councillor and Head of Health, Integration and Equal Opportunities