than 25 years and at the same time it faced the de-institutionalisation of the same design. The resulting multi-level governance is piecemeal and weakly coordinated. The chapter reconstructs the long and undefined process whereby the Italian water system underwent a deep transformation from Municipal management toward regulatory governance through an incremental and incoherent trajectory. This process is described as a combination of institutionalisation and de-institutionalization. Evidence is presented on three aspects: (i) the permanent re-design of the water system over 25 years; (ii) the state of implementation and the role of the protests by the water movement against regulatory governance; and (iii) the state of the awarding of concessions and the market of private companies. All three sets of evidence are interpreted as pointing towards a case of incremental unprotection and fall of public attention as to the destiny of the water system. Similarly, it is also a failure of the design and of State coordination. The conclusion is that the centre is unable to hold and that fragmentation is still strong, although reshaped by different factors. As a result, the water system in the Italian policy agenda is now marginalised and “ungarrisoned”.
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