I-ACCESS: implementing the accessibility to urban historic centres’ use and knowledge

Scientific manager:

Renata Prescia

UNIPA leader:

Renata Prescia, responsabile scientifico; Francesca Sole, responsabile amministrativo.
Gruppo di lavoro: A. Sciascia, M. R. Nobile, F. Trapani, M. L. Germanà, C. Ferrara, C. Garofalo, R. Scaduto, I. Tinnirello


giugno 2018 – ottobre 2021

Scientific disciplinary sectors involved:

Icar/19 Restauro, Icar/13 Design, ICAR/16 Allestimenti

Main ERC sector:

SH5 – Social Sciences and Humanities

Other ERC sectors or sub-sectors:

SH5_6 History of art and architecture, arts-based research; SH5_8 Cultural studies, cultural identities and memories, cultural heritage


The I-ACCESS project has developed innovative solutions in the historic centers of the cities of Palermo and Valletta to improve the cultural and physical accessibility of the cultural heritage, driving force of integration, and development for the society of the two countries, called to face common challenges.

The interdisciplinary project, thanks to the cross-border exchange of skills, to the Partnership of the two Municipalities and the Superintendence of the Sicily Region, has defined new methodological lines, developed new models, experimented with new methods of intervention to improve the accessibility and enhancement of the heritage in two historical centres, and to outline Good Practices to be replicated in other contexts, in order to affect the quality of life, the use of heritage, the economic and sustainable development of cities and territories.

Among the products of the project we highlight the two access ramps to two churches and 10 tactile maps accompanying as many churches in Vucciria; a Protocol for accessibility, in the two versions for Palermo and Valletta with sound and dynamic maps in relation to the identified itineraries. The entire project was conducted with a “people centred” approach in its continuous reference to the community and, in particular, to the associations of people with disabilities, since the enhancement of a territory can only be achieved if the heritage plays a role in the in the improvement processes of the communities that live there.


accessibility, historic cities, architectural restoration, communication

Institutional research:

INTERREG V-A Italia-Malta Programme, 2014-20

Institutional partners:

CNR, prof. ing. Andrea Scianna
Comune di Palermo, Ufficio città storica, prof. Leoluca Orlando, sindaco di Palermo
Dipartimento dei Beni Culturali e dell’Identità siciliana, Soprintendenza BB.CC. AA, Soprintendente arch. Lina Bellanca, componente arch. Salvatore Greco
UniMalta, proff. Reuben Grima, Shirley Cefai
Valletta Local Council, Sindaco, resp. amm. Dott.ssa Gabriella Agius
Innovogy – LTD, ing. Dylan Seychell

Companies involved:

In.sight S.r.l.; Valletta Design cluster; Stamperia regionale braille (UIC-Catania); RIVEM S.r.l.


Third mission activities:

Within the project, several public meetings/events were organized with institutions and associations of disabled people.


Prescia R. (a cura di), Il progetto I-Access. Patrimonio culturale e accessibilità, ed. Caracol, Palermo, 2021 (

Prescia R., Accardi A., A “best practice” for inclusive art cities: the I-Access project case study, in Transforming our World through Universal Design for Human Development, I. Garofolo et al. (Eds.), Atti del convegno, 9 settembre, Brescia, ed. The authors and IOS Press, 2022, pp. 226-33 (

Il progetto I-Access: implementare l’accessibilità nell’uso e nella conoscenza dei centri storici urbani The I-Access Project: Implementing Accessibility in Urban Historic Center’s Use and Knowledge, in Germanà M. L., Prescia R. (a cura di), Accessibility in architectural heritage. Approaches and experiences between technology and restoration. L’accessibilità nel patrimonio architettonico. Approcci ed esperienze tra tecnologia e restauro, ed. Anteferma, Conegliano (Treviso), 2021, pp. 210-217

Barone Z., Ferrara C., Linee guida per un protocollo all’accessibilità della città storica di Palermo, ed. Caracol, Palermo, 2021 (

Barone Z., Ferrara C., Restauro e Comunicazione, in “Intrecci”, rivista SIRA, a. I, n. 2, 2022, pp. 77-95 (

Latest research