This essay focuses on Ezio Vigorelli and his efforts for the establishment of a modern system of social security in after-war Italy, on a par with the experiences marking other European countries in the second half of the 20th century. ECAs (Enti comunali di assistenza) were to be reformed so as to become the pillars of the new structure. After describing the guiding principles of Vigorelli’s socio-political theory, the author focuses his attention on two central moments of his action: the proceedings of the Parliamentary Commission of inquiry into poverty and the elaboration of a bill of law for the reform of public assistance. Both these initiatives, in spite of the difficulties they met, exposed the limits and contradiction of the existing system of social security and underlined the need for a thorough overhaul of legislation and of welfare institutions; the also called for a substantial rise in funding and for renedies to long-standing ills.
Keywords: Assistance, social security, Eca, reform, socialism, poverty