This article suggests that the study of local development policies can be supported by the analysis of local political cultures and, in particular, by the analysis of local governance cultures. New-institutionalism offers a complementary point of view for the analysis of local development processes since local institutions can be seen to play an important role in our understanding of both the modality of political culture reproduction and the capacity of different contexts to meet the challenges of economic globalization and Europeanization. The article presents a contextual comparative analysis of two different Italian local political cultures, the "Red" one in the Emilia Romagna region (socialist/communist) and the "White" one in the Veneto region (catholic). These regional contexts are characterized by two different local policy styles and administrative practices that have articulated two different "modes of governance" in local development. The case study of a national policy to support the industrial districts development (L.317/1991), and the different regional applications, can help us to better understand these elements of analysis.