National Strategy for “Inner Areas” SNAI


Italy’s National Strategy for “Inner Areas” (SNAI) is an innovative policy for development and territorial cohesion to counteract marginalisation and demographic decline within “Inner Areas” throughout the Country. SNAI relies on an ambitious place-based policy based on new multilevel local governance through integrated local promotion and development, addressing demographic challenges and responding to the needs of territories penalised by significant geographical and/or demographic handicaps.

“Inner Areas” are fragile territories, far away from main centres of supply of essential services and too often abandoned to themselves. They stretch over 60% of the national surface, and host 52% of Italian municipalities and 22% of its population. This “truest” and most authentic Italian areas primarily need to enable their inhabitants to still reside or return there.

The National Strategy aims to promote and protect “Inner Areas” assets and local communities, enhancing their natural and cultural resources, creating new employment circuits and new opportunities – in short, counteracting the massive demographic exodus.

The National Strategy addresses 72 “Inner Areas” – overall, 1,077 municipalities and about 2,072,718 inhabitants.

SNAI_aree selezionate

The 72 project areas selected.            Source: Technical Committee for “Inner Areas” (2019)

Total national resources available amount to more than €591 million, in addition to the allocations from Operational Programmes financed with ESI Funds and other public/private funds, to successfully attain social cohesion objectives aimed at slowing down and reversing Inner Areas’ depopulation.

The joint action (broken down in local development projects, mainly financed by EU funds, and interventions for adaptation and improvement of essential services, using national resources) primarily aims to provide local communities with new life and development opportunities to enable them to remain in their own territories.

Developing these territories would enable relaunching the whole Country; furthermore, the opportunity of new economic activities and job creation is closely related to strengthening the qualitative and quantitative supply of essential services (education, healthcare and mobility), which is therefore an absolute precondition.

The risk is that demographic decline and geographical marginality will be followed by dysfunctional processes compromising the very offer of basic services – difficulty in accessing schools that guarantee a training offer and learning levels equal to those ensured in urban areas; lack of guarantee of adequate healthcare services; insufficient mobility to and from “Inner Areas”.

The proceeding for funding individual projects on the territory encompasses three main phases:

  1. Area selection, through a public investigation procedure carried out jointly by all the Central Administrations within the “Inner Areas Technical Committee” (Comitato Tecnico Aree Interne – CTAI) and the Region or Autonomous Province concerned;
  2. Approval of the Area Strategy by the Cohesion Policy Department (DPCoe);
  3. Signing of the Framework Programme Agreement (so-called APQ), through which the Central Administrations, Regions and territories concerned undertake the commitments for implementing the objectives set out in the Area Strategies.

Fondo di sostegno alle attività economiche, artigianali e commerciali (2)

FAQ – Updated January 28, 2021

The Process

3. APQ

Framework Programme Agreement


Best practices

Funding sources

Funding sources and resources allocated


Documentation - Regulations, programming documents and annual reports

Technical Committee

Meetings of the Technical Committee of "Inner Areas"