Once distinguished between commons and common goods, the paper points out how the Roman statutes has formed the basis for their modern legal and economic treatment in Italy. The notion of commons, whose definition is mainly Anglo-Saxon, is still present in the Italian legislation, but it is strongly linked to that of common good. As for the problem of managing such goods, the conventional economic theory stops when faced with failures resulting from the market on the one hand, from public regulation on the other. In Italy, in the last thirty years technical and administrative routines has addressed the problem by means of a wide privatization of public assets, consisting in operations of economic revaluation of properties placed in the private real estate market. This revaluation has been normally obtained through operations involving urban planning and providing for the change of use of the property, in order to ensure maximum profit. The experience described as a case study regards the operation of revaluation of a property (the Psychiatric Hospital of Quarto, in Genoa) that followed this conventional logic in the beginning, but has recently radically changed its way: based on a social campaign by citizens and associations, the project has actually defined a completely new urban status for the area, which returns a central role to public space.
commons; common goods; revaluation; empowerment; land use planning