: Spatial mobility is a distinctive feature of human history and has important repercussions in many aspects of societies. Spatial mobility has always been a subject of interest in many disciplines, even if only mobility observable from traditional sources, namely migration (internal and international) and more recently commuting, is generally studied. However, it is the other forms of mobility, that is, the temporary forms of mobility, that most interest today's societies and, thanks to new data sources, can now be observed and measured. This contribution provides an empirical and data-driven reflection on human mobility during the COVID pandemic crisis. The paper has two main aims: (a) to develop a new index for measuring the attrition in mobility due to the restrictions adopted by governments in order to contain the spread of COVID-19. The robustness of the proposed index is checked by comparing it with the Oxford Stringency Index. The second goal is (b) to test if and how digital footprints (Google data in our case) can be used to measure human mobility. The study considers Italy and all the other European countries. The results show, on the one hand, that the Mobility Restriction Index (MRI) works quite well and, on the other, the sensitivity, in the short term, of human mobility to exogenous shocks and intervention policies; however, the results also show an inner tendency, in the middle term, to return to previous behaviours.
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