The International Festival of Different Abilities is a major Italian event which has been run by Cooperativa Sociale Nazareno since 1999.

1999, 1st edition, I care
2000, 2nd edition, Let the heart live
2001, 3rd edition, Free, Different, Children
2002, 4th edition, Magnitude Holders
2003, 5th edition, Accents of Real Life
2004, 6th edition, Freely based on
2005, 7th edition, What’s a man? Why do you take care of him?
2006, 8th edition, Dear Beauty
2007, 9th edition, At least one You in the Universe
2008, 10th edition, Astonishment which recreates
2009, 11th edition, Looking for Freedom
2010, 12th edition, Truth Facts
2011, 13th edition, TWINKLE. And then we went out to see the stars
2012, 14th edition, Unforseenable Beauty
2013, 15th edition, Magnificent Interferences
2014, 16th edition, Brave Hearts
2015, 17th edition, Invincible frailties
2016 18th edition, Unique, therefore different

The main purpose of the International Festival of Different Abilities is to express the founding philosophy of Cooperativa Sociale Nazareno. We have been working since 1990 with the differently able under the basic assumption that, despite initial physical or mental limitations, it is always possible to pursue excellence. Art is at the same time the goal to attain and the means to attain it. Through art, people stand a chance to reach self-actualization.


Each Festival's program is rich and wide: evening shows, the Open Festival with emerging artists, workshops, conventions, and art exhibitions.
Evening Shows
Professional artists from all over the world are performing, showing the excellence in their difference.
Open Festival
A competition where emerging artists can express themselves in 3 different areas: theatre, video and dance. A jury of experts and representatives of the audience decides which are the best performances in the three sectors.
Dance, music, pottery, and martial arts workshops targeted at schools and socio-rehabilitation-centres.
There is a wide offer of conventions, from a Psychiatry convention to current events related to the Festival's theme.
Art exhibition
Cooperativa Nazareno has organized 4 international art exhibitions with the curatorship of the art historian Bianca Tosatti. The main purpose of these exhibition has been to show together works from well-known artists together with works of ‘irregular’  artists, meaning painters which had no standard artistic education. Some of the artworks proposed in the last years were by   G.B. Podestà, Franco Vaccari, Silvia Cibaldi, J.L. Parant, Muka, Pierre Albasser, Emilio Scanavino, Fortunato De Pero, Osvaldo Licini, Fausto Melotti, Mauro Radice, Luigi Serafini, Morandi, Fontana, Balla, Borgognone, Tiziano and Andy Warhol


23rd MAY– 1st JUNE, Carpi, Correggio, Sorbara, Modena and Bologna


“Cuori Coraggiosi” (Brave Hearts), is the sixteenth edition  of the International Festival of Different Abilities, set up by Cooperativa Sociale Nazareno, which will take place from 23rd May to 1st June in Carpi, Correggio, Sorbara, Modena and Bologna. The event will be dedicated to showcasing excellence in difference, regardless of the fact that this "difference" is declined in disability, mental disorder, social hardship or disadvantage in general.
The Festival will be preceded by the inauguration of art exhibition “METAMORFOSI D’EROE” , which will take place from May 10th to June 10th 2014 in the prestigious headquarters of the National Gallery of Bologna . The curator of the exhibition is prof . Luca Farulli , professor of aesthetics at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice . The exhibition was organized by the Cooperativa Nazareno in co-production with the National Art Gallery of Bologna and Superintendency of Historical, Artistic and Ethno-anthropological Heritage. Works of 25 artists from Italy, Belgium , Ireland, the United States and China will be exhibited, in addition to 5 works on loan from the Museum of Anthropology Cesare Lombroso of Turin. The event is sponsored by the Municipality of Bologna , Province of Bologna , Emilia Romagna Region, Legislative Assembly of the Emilia Romagna region , the Department for Equal Opportunities of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers , the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism . The project is funded with support from the Department for Equal Opportunities of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.
Music is the protagonist of the first two shows of the Festival: "Rock in Casa Mantovani" (Bologna) and the festival’s leading show entitled "Brave Hearts" which will take place at the Teatro Storchi in Modena. The protagonist will be the music with all its oxymorons: on the one hand, the Australian rock band “Rudely Interrupted”, on the other hand the sweetness of Belgian singer-songwriter Lou Boland, both accompanied by the Middle School A. Pio “Scià Scià” orchestra.  The notorious actress Claudia Penoni will present.
Within the theater, the successful cooperation between Classical High School “Rinaldo Corso” of Correggio and Cooperativa Nazareno continues. After a patient work begun last fall, the high school’s theater company “The Hoplites”, along with some members of Manolibera theater company, will bring on stage of “Teatro Asioli “ in Correggio the show "Falstaff, the mockery of the fat knight" (Falstaff, la beffa del grasso cavaliere), from "the Merry Wives of Windsor " by Shakespeare.
The “Cantina Sociale di Sorbara” will be the unusual location of the theatrical-culinary show "I Sospiri Di Sissignore" put on stage by Manolibera theater company of Cooperativa Nazareno in collaboration with chef Gregori Nalon and Angelo Po kitchens, all directed by Vittorio Possenti that, in recent years, has continued to challenge the company Manolibera with performances from operas of classical theater, from works of contemporary fiction until this show, which is a sui generis retelling of the parable of the Prodigal Son, narrated, however, by the servants of the kitchen.
The contest Open Festival, dedicated to emerging theater companies, this year includes two new features. On the one hand, the competition will take place simultaneously in two theaters (“theater” at the Theatre Asioli of Correggio and “dance and music” at the Teatro Comunale in Carpi) and also the winners of each category will have the opportunity to perform in the show Open Festival "the evening "to be held at the Teatro Comunale in Carpi on the same evening of the competition. The duo  "Psicantria" with Gaspare Palmieri and Cristian Grassilli will participate as well; they will offer a few tracks taken from their latest album about sung psychopathology. The journalist Pino Ciociola will present.
The event "Freedom and host" is dedicated to the presentation of the books “Benvenuti A Casa” ("Welcome Home") by S. E. Mons Camisasca, Bishop of Reggio Emilia and “Un Gettone Di Libertà” ("A Token Of Freedom") by Massimiliano Verga. The two works tell about two stories of acceptance, love, courage and freedom.
The movie "Verrückt Nach Paris” (There's Something About Paris)by Eike Besuden and Pago Balke is about courage, love and freedom as well. It is a nice German film with Italian subtitles which tells the story of three friends with disabilities who one day decided to make a trip out of town that turns into a trip to Paris.
The offer of free workshops for schools and social rehabilitation centers provides 8 proposals: C’era Una Volta (Once Upon A Time), Cartoons, Gruppo Fiaba (Fairy Tale Group), Hippotherapy, Karate, Origami, Pet-therapy, Metodanza in collaboration with Centro Emmanuel, equestrian center “La Corte” in Sozzigalli, Karate Team Leoni, Fijicam, Diversamentekarate Association, Cultural Center of Modena Ferrari, Cooperative “Nuove Lune” in Campogalliano.
The collaboration between “Scuola Centrale Formazione”, “Morphè” and Cooperativa Nazareno continues with the seminar "A challenge to the work" dedicated to showing how it is possible to mobilize the creative abilities of people with disabilities in order to create a social enterprise. Distinguished speakers and testimonies of great value will intervene: Prof. Luigi Sacco, University IULM, Marco Carini, Commission Shareholders' health policies and social policies of Emilia Romagna Region, Camphill Community (Ireland), “Monteverde” Onlus (Badia-Rime-VR) and CFP “Villaggio Del Ragazzo” (Chiavari-GE-).
So Sergio Zini , president of the Cooperativa Nazareno introduces the convention of Psychiatry "The Courage to Heal " where will be attended as speakers Dr. Silvio Lenzi and emeritus Prof. Giampaolo Guaraldi and, as experts in sung psychopathology, Dr. Gaspare Palmieri and Dr. Cristian Grassilli of Psicantria. The President Zini points out that the title of the conference calls to deepen the leitmotif of the event. "Sometimes it happens in our profession of social workers to meet people who do not want to change their lifestyle, sometimes even recognizing the discomfort that results from it, but this unreasonably defending their experience of dissatisfaction. "Who leaves the old road for the new one knows what he’s leaving, but doesn’t know what he will encounter". Certainly, in everyday life you realize that often the only news and important changes take place in a completely unexpected way. But it takes courage to face this risk of change: the courage to accept the unexpected, the courage to change , the courage to heal. In the final announcement of the 2013 Edition of the Festival we said, citing Don Abbondio by Betrothed : "The courage, one cannot give it to himself", " Where does this courage come from? Who can give it to us? A teacher, a friend , one who loves us , a companion of the journey. Someone else who can help us rediscover our true stature of men... "Who is this Other ? How do you reconcile the fact that you want to help with the respect of your freedom?" .


Chiara Bellardi,
Cooperativa Sociale Nazareno, via Bollitora Interna 130,41012, Carpi (MO), Italy,
Tel. +39 059 664774; Fax. +39 059 664772; Mob. +39 348 1613252; Skype: chiara.bellardi1

The 15th edition of International Festival for Different Abilities
will take place in 4 Italians cities (Carpi, Correggio, Modena and Bologna)

The 15th edition of International Festival of Different Abilities, which title is MAGNIFICENT INTERFERENCES, organized by Cooperativa Nazareno, will take place in Carpi, Correggio, Modena and Bologna from May 4th to the 15th, 2013. The title MAGNIFICENT INTERFERENCES invites us to focus on the signals of something new which, bursting into the reality, might offer the opportunity to open our  hearts to new possibilities.

The Festival Program, beside dance, music, theatre shows, conventions and workshops, proposes an art exhibition where works of important artists will be exhibited together with  outsider art artists’ works, meaning painters which had no possibility to have a standard artistic education.

The 2013 edition will start with a Sidecar Tour run by Carpi UISP Motoclub and by San Martino in Rio Motoclub where Festival’s protagonists will be taken around Carpi interland, enjoying Sidecar ‘riding’ and Emilia food and wine delicatessen.

During day time there will be plenty of dance, music, pottery and martial arts workshops, addressed to schools and socio-rehabilitation centres.

An unusual location will host the theatre show "Zigulì", from the namesake book of Massimiliano Verga. The show, dedicated to an experience of extreme fatherhood with a son with disability, is performed by the actor Francesco Colella, directed by Francesco Lagi.

Teatro Asioli of Correggio will host Open Festival 6th edition. Open Festival is a theatre, music and video contest, where emerging integrated theatre, dance and video companies can compete in front of 3 specialized juries and get an acknowledgement for the best performances in each sector. Open Festival will be run in cooperation with High School San Tomaso and Bellelli Contarelli Foundation.

In Carpi Theatre Company ‘Manolibera’ by Nazareno Cooperativa will stage a medley of works by the North-American Flannery O’Connor, while in Correggio Manolibera, together with Theatre Company ‘Gli Opliti’ by Corso High School, will stage ‘The Bourgeois Gentleman’ by Molière.

Movie and book introductions and debates are still to be determined. Perhaps the cinema choice will be for the French ‘Le Herisson’ by Mona Achache.

Modena City will host, in an unusual and innovative location, an experimental music show realized by Band Scià Scià, Alberto Pio School Orchestra, well known opera singers directed by Maestro Paolo Andreoli.

Cooperativa Nazareno is also designing ‘Orchestra Delicatessen’ a kitchen-concert where Nazareno Orchestra, together  with Cooperativa Sociale Botteghe  e Mestieri and a famous chef, will represent musically the different phases of a multisensory show-cooking.

Three conventions
are scheduled regarding a different approach towards psychopathology, Down Syndrom and different entrepreneurship. These moments will be realized in cooperation with Prof. Strippoli and Scuola Centrale di Formazione.

The MAGNIFICENT INTERFERENCES program proposal assume that we all are different and we all need this kind of ‘interferences’ which break the routine and rekindle hope in our hearts. As per Eugenio Montale words:

[…] Yet one day through an open gate
among the green luxuriance of a yard
the yellow lemons fire
and the heart melts […]

E.Montale, I limoni

2012 Edition Clip


Chiara Bellardi
Cooperativa Sociale Nazareno
via Bollitora 130, 41012 Carpi (MO), Italy
Tel. (0039) 059 664774
Fax. (0039) 059 664772
Mob. (0039) 3481613252
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Art Director: Emanuela Ciroldi ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )
Communications: Chiara Bellardi ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )
Tel: 0039 059 664774 - Mobile: 0039 348 1613252 - Fax: 0039 059 664772
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