The contribution is focused on local public services and utilities enterprises, in the Italian legal order. The analysis addresses the following questions: Why do State legislator and local governments adopt these rules and policy? Is there a clear and sharp model of municipal public services enterprise? Which characteristics can be found in identifying the relevant legal forms? The analysis provides, first, a historical perspective, looking at the objectives pursued by the developed sets of relevant rules. Second, as main part, several organizational features of managing public services and utilities at local level are considered. Special attention is devoted to the main principles and rules structuring the current general regime, to the characteristics of the existing "società municipalizzate", to the public-private companies (società miste), to the “in-house” providing exception and the recent developments. Finally, the last section is devoted to a concluding consideration of the existing twofold regime. The conclusion is that a keen defining line between local government-owned enterprises exclusively subject to corporate law and other organizations running local services activities as “public law enterprises” cannot be easily drawn. The number of changes and amendments in the recent years, includes, significantly, the attempt to bring the domestic discipline of the local public sector up to date, in compliance with EU law. Nevertheless the areas of uncertainty in the internal legal system were increased by the last developments, while the recent legislation added new exceptions and specific rules to the old ones. Summary: 1. Introduction - 2. Historical overview: the Nineteen Century's regulation - 2.1. The azienda speciale: public and utilities sectors, organization activities and controls - 2.2. The local government's corporate shareholding - 3. The main features of privatization and the late 1990's challenges - 4. The New Century troubled regulation - 4.1. The general regime. Scope and limits - 4.2. The "in-house" exception and the specific limitations to the general regime - 4.3. The referendum of 2011 and the recent decision of the Constitutional Court - 5. Conclusion and outlook
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