Department of Economic Sciences and Rural Appraisal, University of Perugia 1 Department of Economics, Finance and Statistics, University of Perugia 2 (Paper first received, April 2005; in final form, April 2006) Abstract Economic inequality among European regions has been widely investigated, and a large number of empirical results have extended theoretical knowledge on the matter. Rural economies represent an important part of European capitalism, but there is insufficient evidence of distributional diversities arising from an urban-rural comparative approach. This paper tests the assumption that one of the characteristics of rural economies is relatively reduced inequality. Empirical analysis of the incomes of Italian households supports this hypothesis. It also suggests that further research may enrich the characterisation of rural development patterns and knowledge about the factors influencing income distribution structures and dynamics. Keywords: income inequality, rural systems, economic diversity, social relations. JEL-classification codes: D31, R11, O15.