We review the main national and regional programmes aimed at contrasting poverty implemented in Italy in the last fifteen years, with the aim of gaining useful suggestions for the design of a new, credible anti-poverty programme. We argue that such a programme should be national; rest on the criterion of selective universalism; provide eligible households with a monetary transfer that brings their equivalent income to a decent poverty threshold; complement such a monetary transfer with social integration and activation policies. To that purpose, we move from two sets of policy questions, one pertaining to the basic features of a programme to fight poverty, the other concerning crucial aspects of its implementation and evaluation. The review documents that most of the programmes examined suffered from severe deficiencies. On the grounds of that evidence, we outline and discuss the basic lines of an ambitious, yet feasible, project for a national anti-poverty programme.
Keywords: Poverty, Policies to combat poverty, Monitoring and policy evaluation