In post-war Italy, ‘reformism’ has been ignored by many, wished for by some, and pursued by only a few. While it was a beacon for the major progressive political forces of Western countries, in Italy this idea was for a long time considered an ‘impossible’ vision. Even when there have been attempts to trace its development, explain the reasons for its failure, or reassess some of its merits, it has been sought everywhere except where it should actually be located: within those parties which defined themselves and considered themselves reformist, for example within the social democrat tradition. For a long period on the political level, Italian social democracy was squeezed between the formidable Catholic tradition and a powerful Communist culture. These pressures contributed to its negation, on both a historiographical and a political level, including a denial of the features of modernity in its development, or at the very least the obscuring of its achievements. Italian reformism, whether a ‘possible’ or ‘impossible’ option, has thus been removed from consideration, both in politics and in historiography.