While there was a rapid growth in the number of secular, voluntary associations in Italy during a period of extraordinary social ferment during the late 1970s, this has not led to public recognition of the existence of a third sector, although it is noteworthy that the first law providing for some tax deductions for contributions to voluntary organizations was adopted in Italy in 1991. The concept of a “crisis of the welfare state” is generally acknowledged to have originated with the changes in most Western economies in the mid-1970s following the quadrupling of oil prices. The worldwide expansion in the number of nongovernmental organizations of all types during the last twenty-five years has been described as a cross-national “administrative mega-trend”. While echoes of these themes were also heard in Italy, the emergence of volontariato in the late 1980s was limited to a few cities mainly in the North where there were more attempts to develop partnerships with government.