Nelson Mandela Forum

Not to be confused with Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
Nelson Mandela Forum
Former names Palazzetto dello sport di Firenze, Palasport
Location Florence, Italy
Coordinates 43°46′37″N 11°16′59″E / 43.776859°N 11.283045°E / 43.776859; 11.283045Coordinates: 43°46′37″N 11°16′59″E / 43.776859°N 11.283045°E / 43.776859; 11.283045
Capacity 7,500
Opened 1985
Renovated 2004

Nelson Mandela Forum, formerly Palazzetto dello sport di Firenze and Palasport, is an indoor sports arena that is located in Florence, Italy. It was inaugurated in 1985. In 2004 the arena was renamed to Nelson Mandela Forum.[1]

The seating capacity of the arena is 7,500 people for basketball games,[2][3] and the maximum capacity for rock concerts, with general admission tickets, is 8,262 people. It was the home arena of the Italian basketball club Pool Firenze Basket, before the club's relegation to the minor leagues in 2009.


The structure is property of the city of Florence and is managed, since 2003, by the Associazione Palasport – Nelson Mandela Forum under a 12-year management agreement.

The Nelson Mandela Forum has a formal agreement with the Nelson Mandela Foundation that allows the use of the name of the South African former president.[4]

The structure's compound is 25,000 m2 (269,098 sq ft) with 10,000 m2 (107,639 sq ft) of spaces where there are a main arena, a boxing training center, two areas used for gym (the latter being for many years home of the fencing center of Florence), one free climbing facility, and open spaces occupied by three permanent exhibitions on human rights.


The arena hosted the 1990 basketball FIBA European Cup Winner's Cup Final, in which local Italian club Knorr Bologna won the title,[5][6] in front of a crowd of 6,000 spectators.[6]

In 2010, the arena was one of the venues of the men's Volleyball World Championship.[7]

The main financial sponsors are Fondazione Monte dei Paschi di Siena (a bank foundation) and Unicoop Firenze (a supermarket chain). It has hosted the concerts of: Pooh, Vasco Rossi, Alessandra Amoroso, Mark Knopfler, Eros Ramazzotti, Oasis, Bob Dylan, Michael Bublé, Max Pezzali, Depeche Mode, Neil Young, Lenny Kravitz, Marilyn Manson, Biagio Antonacci, Zucchero, Renato Zero, Francesco Guccini, Jovanotti, Tiziano Ferro, Gianna Nannini, Subsonica, Giorgia, Caetano Veloso, Claudio Baglioni, Deep Purple, Antonello Venditti, Elisa, Laura Pausini, Litfiba, Marco Mengoni, and many more. On 11 June 2010, it hosted WWE in Europe with Smackdown.

From the 22 to 29 September 2013 the Forum will host the 2013 UCI Road World Championships. As a result the city has recently paved all the principal streets near the Forum.

Current use

During the summer when the main arena is not utilized, the compound of the Mandela Forum hosts two open-air cinemas with 600 and 250 seats that operate for the whole of the summer holidays season.

At the entrance of the Mandela Forum there is a mural painted by the South African Ndebele artist Esther Mahalangu inaugurated on 17 November 2010 by the Minister of Arts and Culture of the Republic of South Africa Paul Mashatile.[8][9]

For the 2013–14 Euroleague season it was the home arena of Italian League club Mens Sana Basket.

The Dave Matthews Band performed live there on October 18, 2015.


Preceded by
Peace and Friendship Stadium
European Cup
Final Venue

Succeeded by
Patinoire des Vernets
Preceded by
Polideportivo Islas Malvinas
Mar del Plata
FIVB Volleyball World League
Final Venue

Succeeded by
Rio de Janeiro
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