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Despite the existence of two targeted national programmes («bonus gas» and «bonus energia») in Italy there is no official definition of energy poverty (EP). The purpose of this study is to provide the reader with a set of indicators to fill this gap. We present a range of poverty measures which estimate that between 5 and 20 per cent of households was in EP in 2012. A selection based on qualitative criteria suggests the use of a low-income/highcosts indicator modified to include the economically vulnerable households with no heating expenses. According to this statistic the proportion of households in EP during the period 1997-2012 was broadly stable at around 8 per cent. Our simulations indicate that the tools available to counter EP in Italy would have yielded a modest reduction in energy vulnerable households.