The relationships among the various levels of government may be based on decentralization or on subsidiarity. The difference between subsidiarity and decentralization is primarily ideological-political, in the sense that with subsidiarity sovereignty remains at the lower lewels and is delegated by them - for the realization of their goals - to the highter levels of goverment, while in the case of decentralization an organizational arrangement is adopted which enables fulfilment of goals set by the highest level which gradually descend to the lower ones. The principle of subsidiarity is explicity mentioned by the Treaty of Maastricht to ensure that the community level of power does not compress those below, and it is proposed in Italy with references to institutional reorganization that would create space for local autonomy. Economic criterias as well as ones of efficiency and redistribution regulate the attribution of competences. In Italy there is an intricate overlapping of tasks which weave the competences of various levels together. By means of "matrices" the author describes three models: "maximum autonomy-maxim responsability" (no interdependence), hierarchical (dependance on the higher level) and "irresponsability" (chaotic overlapping of competences). Italy reflects the last of these three models.