Reforming the Municipalities has been one of the most important concern in recent years in Italy. The reforming process has been focused on two main issues: improving their decision-making capacities through a more stable structure of government, and improving the efficiency of their administrative machine through new management techniques. Though the reforms have been quite successfully implemented, it is not clear whether they have brought the expected results. The article suggests that the reforms have overlooked the effective way by which Italian municipalities tend to make their decisions, which actors are involved and which interactions take place among them. In order to answer to such questions, the article presents a comparative analysis on one hundred cases of decision-making processes that occurred in twelve Italian Municipalities located in four Regions. The main conclusions are threefold. First the decision-making processes reveal a high degree of openness: both societal actors and other public administrations are frequently involved. Second: the most influential variable that shapes the decision-making process is the type of policy: municipalities of different size or located in different areas tend to behave in the same way when tackling similar problems. Third: conflicts are frequent but they do not necessarily prevent effective or efficient outcomes.