This paper is focused on the mechanisms that could potentially allow the Italian Third Sector to develop innovative responses to the old and new needs and vulnerabilities emerging during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic, according to the authors, exacerbated pre-existing inequalities and vulnerabilities, linked at least to the 2008 Great Recession of social capital. During the Covid-19 crisis, the Third Sector confirmed its ability to respond in an in-novative way to emerging social problems and its propensity to question the causes of the problems. By virtue of this ability, the Third Sector could be able to play a leading role in an overall rethinking of the social protection system. The principles of empowerment, the en-hancement of social relations, the centrality of the person, are part of the Third Sector's DNA and today find expression in social innovation, capable of affirming an innovative reconcilia-tion between efficiency and solidarity.
Keywords: Terzo Settore; Covid-19; Innovazione Sociale; Welfare; Diseguaglianze; Vulne-rabilità.