In the rural mountains, middle-lower level services (general practitioners, pharmacies, schools, supermarkets, etc.) play a crucial role. However, in the Italian Alps they only exist in a third of the municipalities, almost located in the low valleys.
The few centers which include these essential functions and located in the innermost regions are those that ensure basic conditions of habitability for 45% of the Italian Alpine municipalities: they are the municipalities of the territories classified by the report Montagne Italia 2017 as “extreme” and “rarefied”.
Welfare interventions must take into account this particular distribution of supply centers, their gravitations, the consequent demand for collective transport and the alternatives offered by teleservices.
With the pandemic, the scenario changes. It can be assumed that the attractive factors of mountain areas and the repulsive factors of the city will both be enhanced.
It is likely that the demand for services, mobility and digital infrastructures will tend to change the composition and distribution of the offer, with particularly significant effects on the Alpine municipalities of the internal mountain and on the centers within residents gravitate.
Head alpine cities already serve a large number of inhabitants, which include residents and tourists; this is why these effects will be noticeable elsewhere, most of all in the appearance of important factors in the “functional upgrading” of smaller alpine cities and semi-urban foothill centers.