The study investigated the genetic diversity of human astroviruses (HAstVs) detected in children hospitalized with gastroenteritis in Italy in 2008–2009. A total of 1321 faecal samples were collected in Parma (northern Italy), Bari (southern Italy), and Palermo (Sicily) and screened for the presence of HAstVs. RT–PCR amplification of a portion at the 5′-end of ORF2 allowed the detection of HAstVs in 3·95% of the patients. Four different genotypes (HAstV-1, HAstV-2, HAstV-4, HAstV-5) were found to be circulating during the study period, with HAstV-1 being the predominant type. Interestingly, a novel lineage, proposed as HAstV-2d, was found to have emerged in Parma in 2009. Investigating the genetic variability of HAstVs will be important for understanding the epidemiological trends and evolution of these viruses.