Cerutti STEFANIA, University of Eastern Piedmont , Italy
Menzardi PAOLA, University of Eastern Piedmont , Italy
Marginal and inner territories are places of strong contrasts: they evoke great charm and heritage, but they live wide discontinuity and fragility along a border line that distances them from urban or less peripheral circuits. In Italy, there is a wide debate on their dynamics, both on a political and programmatic level and on a scientific and operational level. It occurs also in the light of the funding to face COVID-19 pandemic crisis, i.e. the PNRR and the new EU programs. The growing demand to live, work, know these areas represents an ongoing process that is taking place along the entire Alpine arc. In Piedmont region, in northern Italy, several initiatives have been launched in recent years for the development and enhancement of marginal mountain areas. In particular, in the Ossola valleys some projects stand out because of their capability to trigger a collaborative dialogue and to launch a territorial network of active and responsible communities. It has led to the conception and experimentation of new cultural and tourist itineraries. The bottom-up project Comuniterràe has developed within ten small communities of Val Grande Park becoming an articulated path of territorial promotion. The Protected Areas of Ossola are partners in the European cross-border project Healps2, thanks to which operators in the tourism sector have been connected with psychological professionals to co-design new trails based on wellness and experiential tourism. A third significant project, Cobiintour, carried out by the Cobianchi Institute’s young students in Verbania, has provided an innovative way of territorial storytelling and promotion. These and other impulses are undoubtedly the sign of a far-sighted openness of the communities in highlighting qualities and virtues of their territories to be recognized and appreciated, a journey to be made together by joining forces, intentions and perspectives along nodes of shared paths.
Keywords: participatory territorial design|local communities|sustainable development|tourism routes|Alps