This essay addresses the terms of the problematic debate surrounding the governing of Italian territory. Specifically the centralising State - typically "top-down" - which has been prevalent over the past two decades - and the development of governance needs in specific territories which would be served better and more logically via a "bottom up" approach. The work is divided into three parts: the institutional architecture; the experience of place; possible social practices. Examples presented in the first part do not seem to indicate it is possible to that one reconcile governance with practices that are spreading in many areas, albeit in a fragmentary and unsystematic way. These practices are spreading in many areas, and they reflect the vision that, if you respect the unique character and quality of a place, you can create sustainable scenarios for the future - both social and economic. Theoretical approaches used are confined to the debate which began around the distinction between space and place and which are being established in most disciplines, from sociology of the territory, through geography and all those disciplines which study territorial marketing.
Keywords: Territory, place, government, experience, social practices, vulnerability