Athletes that have competed in summer and winter Paralympic sports participated in the festival ©Getty Images

Milan, which is due to co-host the 2026 Winter Games with Cortina d'Ampezzo, played host to Italy’s third Paralympic Festival.

The first edition was held in Rome in 2018 before Padova staged the event the year after.

It was not held in the previous two years due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Approximately 100 speakers across 50 events took centre stage at the refurbished Fabbrica del Vapore, with many being accomplished summer and winter Paralympians, prominent Italian artists and intellectuals.

The participants delivered speeches and contributed in photo exhibitions, film screenings and book presentations.

As many as 3,000 students from various Italian regions attended the festival.

Future editions are due to be held in locations related to the 2026 Paralympics as organisers seek to accelerate long-term transformation in the area.

"Following the pandemic, we made the decision to pay tribute to the future host city of the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2026," said Luca Pancalli, President of the Italian Paralympic Committee.

"The main theme was inclusion, in the broadest sense of the term, with the slogan 'inclusion is not a cliché'."

He continued: "Our dream is to connect with more people with disability to show them what they can do through sport.

"We want a universal reply to the themes of accessibility in our country.

"But even more important, we are working hard for a cultural legacy.

"We must promote the culture of inclusion to spread a different perception of disability.

"This is a crucial point because with a new awareness among people and institutions, a change of perspective, all the other problems can be solved easier, relying on more responsible stakeholders.

"The Paralympic Games can really change a country, helping it to grow in every aspect."