Via Scipione Ammirato 35/2 50136 Florence

About us - A hook to Parkinson's

One special day six years ago...

The beginning of a great dream

Gleason's Gym, Brooklyn. The gym was opened in the 1930s by an Italian - Peter Gagliardi, a taxi driver. At the entrance a large board displays a sentence from Eneide, about a boxing competition that Enea organises. The feeling is intense. One breathes Italianity. The interior looks like the set of a Rocky movie: 5 rings, lots of people training, vigorous boxers, men and women, some not so young - certainly not professional boxers - boys and girls. This is certainly the most famous gym in the United States: Jack la Motta, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson trained there. A true temple of boxing. I went there because I wanted to do a boxing workout. While I was training I saw a sign that said 'Boxing for Parkinson's tomorrow'. The next day I showed up to see what it was all about. A scene appeared which I will never forget and which moved me. About twenty patients (some elderly, but others not so elderly) around the ring: in the centre, a muscular boxer who performed typical boxing movements while all the patients followed him, although their movements were certainly slower and not well coordinated. The aspect that most moved me was to see this boxer, strong, muscular, with a typical flattened nose (and a face that I would not call reassuring), who very patiently and tenderly incited patients to follow him in his movements, gently encouraging them and giving them confidence and support. Back in Italy, I wanted to start this project here too. I looked for friends, dreamers like me and a bit crazy, who wanted to embark on this strange adventure. First of all, I found my long-time friend Paolo Pescini, an enlightened entrepreneur, full of energy and enthusiasm, who has become a reference figure in this project. We thus founded a non-profit association 'A hook to Parkinson's' that offers great help to this type of patient. We currently have more than a hundred people, both men and women, practising this activity, and the numbers are constantly increasing. We have all climbed into the ring together. The fight will be tough. The opponent is tough but, we are certain we will knock him out.

Maurizio Bertoni and Paolo Pescini


Patients treated




Lecture hours


Research projects

Our Mission

  • A Hook to Parkinson's was founded in 2018 with the aim of improving the quality of life of patients suffering from the condition.
  • A diagnosis of Parkinson's disease can be life-changing, but there is much that can be done as there are now disease-specific, neuroplasticity-based exercise programmes that improve symptoms, restore function and improve quality of life.
  • Research has shown that targeted programmes can improve gait, balance, tremor, flexibility, strength and motor coordination as well as memory, cognitive ability and mood.
  • We want to propose physical activity programmes that are dynamic and stimulating for both the body as well as cognitive, memory and facial-motor activities
  • We want to research the benefits of physical activity
  • We want to raise funds that will enable us to pursue these goals.
  • We also want to create scholarships for young researchers to be able to study Parkinson's disease at highly specialised centres.
  • Finally, we want to create exchanges between Italian and foreign researchers to stimulate research with international contributions.

Scientific Committee


Dr Silvia Ramat


Neurology 1
Careggi Hospital - Florence

Dr. Daniele Volpe

Specialist Physiatrist and Geriatrician

Responsible Villa Margherita (VI)
Fresco Parkinson Institute

Dr. Paola Vanni


Neurology Department
Santa Maria Annunziata - Florence

Dr Fabrisia Ambrosio


Director, Atlantic Charter Disc. Center for Musculoskeletal Recovery Spaulding Rehabilitation Inst. - Harvard Medical School

Prof. Dustin Grooms


Associate Director Ohio Musculoskeletal
and Neurological Institute
Ohio University

Prof. James Thomas

PT - PhD

Professor of Physical Therapy and Biomedical Sciences Director Motor Control Lab
Virginia Commonwealth University

Dr. Monica Norcini

Pharm.D - PhD

Langone Medical Center - New York - Fresco Parkinson Institute

Dr. Maurizio Bertoni

Orthopaedic Specialist

University of Florence - Centro Training Lab Florence

They collaborate with us

Training Lab

Performance Centre Florence

Harvard Medical School

Spaulding Rehabilitation Institute

Virginia Commonwealth University

Sciences Director Motor Control Lab

University of Florence

Parkinson Unit

University of Florence

Clinical and Oncological Pharmacology Section

Become an affiliate

Fighting Parkinson's

Become an affiliate centre

The Association wants to expand its method by proposing it to other centres throughout Italy in order to meet the great need throughout the country due to the ever-increasing number of Parkinson's patients Help your city, your fellow citizens who suffer from Parkinson's disease by bringing the method carried out by us: become an affiliated Centre.

The benefits of an affiliated centre

Use of logo, image, distinctive signs
Know-how of the Association (heritage of technical-scientific knowledge and related technical-operational procedures, as well as practical knowledge resulting from experience)
Initial staff training courses
Ongoing support and advice on specific cases
Continuous/periodic monitoring of the results achieved and compliance of method application
Website presence: a key element of your programme's success is maintaining a strong online presence. Our experienced staff will provide your website, e-mail address and promotion of your Parkinson's Centre affiliate on social media
Research studies on exercise and Parkinson's disease

Programme Expansion

  • Your programme could grow rapidly and it won't be long before you need new coaches to add more classes or even more locations. We make it easy with our training.

Online courses for affiliates

  • For existing affiliates, online training option for new coaches. For new affiliates, the training must be carried out in person.

Become an affiliate

A hook to Parkinson's

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