Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2021


Administrative Law Review






What has come to be known worldwide as the Italian model to fight COVID-19 was a series of governmental measures undertaken in early 2020 to reduce the contagion of a deadly virus ravaging the northern regions of Italy—especially Lombardy, Veneto, and Piedmont. These measures included quarantine or lockdown throughout the Italian territory, together with the revamping of hospitals, followed by economic recovery packages to address the standstill of the national economy. This Article focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of the Italian model. By highlighting the initial missteps, we can understand how this turned into a productive national and regional coordination model through a learning-by monitoring process. However, the Italian model was implemented at a high cost, due to the overextension of executive action and the lack of territorial differentiation. After the President of the Italian Republic suggested stronger parliamentary involvement in the executive lockdown measures, the legislative branch began to give full legal force to the governmental provisional regulations. Rather than tailoring the regulatory measures according to the impacted regions, the government imposed a long and widespread lockdown throughout the country by means of an overregulation and bureaucratization of social life, which produced high human and economic costs for the country. In hindsight, the Italian government did not narrowly tailor the lockdown measures or lift them in those regions with limited infections. As a result, this widespread and micromanaged governmental action has created new and effective administrative processes of regional–national cooperation in public health, but it has also triggered distrust toward the way in which public authorities managed the pandemic during the different phases of the COVID-19 pandemic.



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