The authors discuss results of long-term Dutch field projects in three regions in Italy and review case studies taken from these study areas in the light of indigenous developments in early Italian centralization and urbanization. By looking at regional developments in the domains of economy, religious and funerary practice as well as that of social relationships, they arrive at the conclusion that material culture was actively used in indigenous contexts. There is a consequent need for re-definition of centralization and urbanization, which in the Italian context are often seen as non-indigenous achievements. Comparative regional research, as suggested by the authors' case studies on the Sibaritide, the Brindisino and the Pontine region, will reveal both general trends concerning the concepts discussed and regional idiosyncrasies depending on regional traditions, histories and the regional landscape. To this end, a new project was launched, known as the Regional Pathways to Complexity project, that is introduced to the reader at the end of this paper.