The essay highlights a number of distinctive features of the resistance movement in Italy. It first examines the specific circumstances in which the Italian Resistance came into being: the reaction against the German occupation after the armistice of 8 September. A second peculiarity was the participation therein of the regular armed forces. The essay also emphasises that the core of the resistance movement consisted of the demobilized soldiers and independent partisans who refused to give a specifically political connotation to a struggle which they saw as above all a patriotic war of liberation. The prime role performed by the Anglo-American armies in the liberation of Italy, and the largely circumscribed one of the 'active' Resistance are two further aspects highlighted by the essay to confute the contentions of conventional historiography.