Various Italian industrial districts have in recent times gone through periods of crisis: many firms have shut down; exports, which in the past led the growth process, have decreased and competition has become increasingly fierce because many new producers have appeared on the international market. The profound changes occurring in the districts call for a dynamic approach, identifying stages of development and different connected typologies of districts, overcoming the main limitation of the traditional, static, theoretical framework, based on Marshallian external economies, on ‘industrial atmosphere’, and on the interactions between industry and local society (Bagnasco, 1977; Becattini, 1979; Garofoli, 1981; Brusco, 1982).