Facilities in the Italian Alps: which ones and where? Ideas for a post-pandemic scenario
In the rural mountains, middle- and lower-level facilities (general practitioners, pharmacies, schools, supermarkets, etc.) play a crucial role. However, in the Italian Alps they only exist in a third of the municipalities, mostly located in the lower valleys. The few centers which include these core services are located in the innermost regions, the ones 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. Following the pandemic, the scenario has changed. 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 public services, mobility and digital infrastructures will tend to change the composition and distribution of the offer, with particularly strong effects on the Alpine municipalities of internal mountain areas and on the centers within which residents gravitate. The main cities in Alpine areas already serve a large number of inhabitants, which include residents and tourists; this is the reason why these effects will be noticeable elsewhere, mostly in the appearance of important factors in the “functional upgrading” of smaller Alpine cities and semi-urban foothill centers.