The goal of this special issue is to analyse how the Italian political system has changed in the last 20 years and, depending on the outcome of this analysis, to (re)locate Italy in the context of contemporary democracies. How different is Italian democracy today compared to the democracy of the so-called First Republic? The answer may be different depending on the indicators considered. In order to choose the main dimensions to focus on, we believe Lijphart’s multidimensional design may help. Therefore, we explore the main structural changes that have taken place in Italy over the last 20 years by examining, on the one hand, the transformations on the first Lijphartian dimension – transformations that tend towards the majoritarian pole – and, on the other, the evolution of some indicators belonging to the second dimension, ones that push Italy towards the consensus pole, though more ambiguously. More specifically, we analyse the never-ending attempts to reform the electoral system, the transformations in the party system and the evolution of the relationship between the government and parliamentary opposition. Furthermore, we explore the variation in the distribution of decision-making power among national, supranational and subnational (regional) bodies and the new role of the President of the Republic as an increasingly important counterbalancing power. In doing so, we attempt to understand how Italian democracy has changed in recent years and where Italy can be placed in the context of contemporary democracies.