Party and party system changes are arguably the most visible manifestations of the transition between the so-called First and Second Italian Republics. In the first half of the 1990s, Italy experienced a massive party realignment; at the same time major changes occurred, at least apparently, in important structural aspects of the party system. Such transformations were the consequence of a number of different factors. The exposure of Italy’s widespread system of political corruption, the collapse of international communism, and electoral change were all considered to be relevant by most commentators and analysts. The first two were produced by coincidental and to a certain extent incidental events, whose effects were de facto exhausted by the mid-1990s. The third factor, electoral change, also had some immediate direct effects, such as causing the near-disappearance of the Partito Popolare Italiano (PPI) – the direct heir of the once mighty DC – that permitted observers to appreciate the actual extent of party and party system change.