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The deliberative local referendum, whether constitutive or deliberative, has never been introduced into the communal system set out by the Italian Constitution. Law 142/1990 on Communes and Provinces admits only the consultative referendum, which moreover is not compulsory but optional, in that it is left to communal councils to decide when drawing up their statutes. The essay describes the long and tenacious opposition raised by the national and local political class, as well as by legal culture subordinate to it, against local direct democracy in its most incisive and efficacious forms.