As it is known since long, firms’ framework conditions (external economies and diseconomies) strongly influence their competitiveness.The average firms’ dimension and the strong and rooted territorial diversity make the presence of external economies and diseconomies significantly important in Italy, a country which is losing competitiveness in the last years. To strengthen its competitiveness, Italy needs correct macroeconomic policies, a proper regulation (liberalization and market reforms) and the generation of new external economies for firms. Some external economies depend on national policies while others depend
on territorial ones; consequently, good territorial development policies are essential for Italy’s competitiveness raising. Starting from this point, this article tries to examine new territorial policies which
are the result of a huge debate on the regional policies (implemented since the second half of the last century, in Italy and other European countries), on their varying effects in time and space and on the growing cultural and political opposition to them, in the nineties. Actually, the new policies are based on the
definition of territorial development programs at sub-regional level. Consequently, the paper suggest that nowadays it may be better to substitute the term regional policy with territorial development policies, whose implementation has brought significant results, both in Italy and other European countries. However, good territorial development policies need to be intended not only as local matter but supported by a strong and coherent national policy.