The Covid-19 pandemic produced an unexpected social experiment. On a global scale, behaviours and lifestyles of populations have been subjected to new regulations. The article recalls the main steps of the pandemic in Italy and the legal provision adopted by the Italian government related to the development of the pandemic. During the first stage of the pandemic, defined by an unexpected ‘fear of dying’ and a new social and institutional solidarity, the primary normative tool adopted were the recommendations, based upon the acceptance of restrictions and a feeling of trust towards solidarity networks and institutions. Then, the government relied at first on nudging to persuade people to get vaccinated and then on compulsory vaccination for some parts of the population. The authors argue that different strategies of social regulation are linked to the sustainability of inequality in society. As long as the institutions and solidarity networks could compensate for the disadvantages and losses of one part of the population, trust have regulated population behaviours without coercion. Then, when social protection was reduced, obligations and coercion have become the way to control non-compliant behaviours.