Valutazione, controlli e pubblica amministrazione - The Italian political culture is characterized by a strong juridical orientation combined with tolerance for public administration inefficiency. It is no wonder that evaluation has been introduced into the Italian administrative system as a further control, but the consequences have been a ritualistic use of evaluation. Controls of any kind "legitimacy, budgetary, managerial" tend to assess compliance of an action to a rule, and to sanction violation of the rule. Evaluation judges the results of an intervention with a view to learn from the way it has been implemented, that will vary according to context; furthermore, it is interested in positive and negative, expected an un-expected outcomes. The article reviews how these cultural predicaments have conditioned the potentialities offered by three different pushes to evaluate public policies: europeanization, federalism and the modernization of the public sector. Key words: controls, evaluation, public administration.