The interest of psychologists in the consistent decrease of children's autonomy of movement and play in the urban context is fairly recent in Italy. The aim of this paper is to present a synthesis of Italian research to outline a picture of this phenomenon in this country. This will include how it manifests itself, which factors favour autonomy of movement and which correlate with the scarcity of autonomy. The level of autonomy of movement in Italian children is discouraging. For example, only 20 and 30% of 10 year olds go to school alone or with peers. At this age, in central Italy, 44 - 48% of children have never gone on errands alone (Prezza et al;, 2000; Alparone et al., 2001). Even the possibility of playing outside without strict supervision of adults is extremely limited.