Life in common for people from different cultures and ethnicities is a source for social innovation and
development, as well as a matter of conflicts, social exclusion and manipulation. Institutional forms of
learning are possible as long as they deal with both respect for differences, and the tensions often arising
when living with others. In such a perspective, the authors of this paper discuss the policies for Romany people
implemented in Italy in recent years, their failures as well as their innovations, as a relevant lesson to be learned
by planners and policy makers involved in such complex socio-cultural and political issues. They maintain that
incrementalism can be a viable way to inhabit contradictions and conflicts arising in this policy field, provided that
mutual trust and respect for the rules are in play.