Italy has not yet managed to recover from the last big crisis, and the country con-tinues to worsen its rank concerning the most important indicators of growth and socio-economic development. Looking at a long run perspective, the Italian model of economic development and productive specialisation persists and increases its weaknesses, while a few well-known criticalities of the institutional system remain relevant. At the same time, the issue of the feasible economic policies cannot be overlooked: as a matter of fact, it remains the cornerstone within the broader de-bate on the EU austerity orientation. Disappointingly, this debate is often charac-terised by ideological positions - sometimes related to mere party’s marketing strategies - thereby loosing adherence to the socio-economic facts and figures. In this work, we reconsider the debate on the economic crises and the structural de-cline, by examining a comprehensive range of medium-term socio-economic indi-cators. The main aim is to carry out a reality-check for the received wisdom, and to point to the main conditions for re-launching the country’s economy
Keywords: Economic crisis, decline, competitiveness, austerity, economic policies.
Jel Code: E60, F60, H60, L52, O10