In this article, based on a recent research carried out in a Southern Italian region, we examine the impact of local development policies and their implementation in Calabria, by looking at the new forms of social regulation based on the concept of governance, and at the dynamics established among the main actors such as institutions, politicians, entrepreneurs, trade unions, employers’ associations. Starting from the literature on this subject that claims a sort of dualism between government and governance, we try to explore the possible connections between both approaches. In particular, the experiences of programmazione negoziata (e.g. the Patti territoriali) and, at presents, the progettazione integrata territoriale (PIT), represent an interesting benchmark to test our research hypothesis. Using case studies we support the thesis that local development policies have to necessarily take into account the specific nature and vocations of territories and, mainly, they must succeed in activating several partners on specific projects according to a logic of multilevel governance. Moreover, as opposed to those scholars who consider governance as an alternative to traditional forms of regulation based on government, we firmly support the thesis of their complementarity, in other words a mix between unilateral public rules and negotiation practices. With this regards, the experiences of patti territoriali and, even more, the analysed PIT clearly show that an effective governance requires strong and powerful institutions able to guide economic development processes, other than able to involve and support economic partners.