The subject addressed by this paper is the assessment both from an architectural and psychological point of view of a recycling intervention in Amelia, a small historical town (Ca. 10.000 inhabitants) in Central Italy. In the last 20 years in Amelia, as in many other small historical towns, the urbanised area expanded substantially outside the historical centre. Pushed by the poor quality of old houses and pulled by modern housing development, a large number of inhabitants moved from the historical centre to the newly developed neighbourhoods on the outskirts of the town. Findings from a recent survey on housing preferences of Amelia population showed a widespread negative evaluation of the housing quality of the historical centre and a significant differ-ence in satisfaction with home between people living in the historical centre and in the modern neighbourhoods. Though the historical centre was rated higher than the new neighbourhoods with reference to a number of social and functional features of the urban environment, half of the respondents from the centre expressed the preference for moving to the new part of the town. In 1978 a special land use plan for housing renewal was introduced and extra funds were given to municipalities to rehabilitate old buildings. On this basis, a public housing project was carried out in Amelia. The first result has been the recycling of a XVI century convent which was converted in a low income apartment building. As the restoration of the building was aimed to preserve as far as possible the old structure, the result is a quite atypical residential environment. The purpose of the research is twofold: 1) to analyse the physical characteristics of the building and of the dwelling units in order to identify and measure the discrepancy with the current housing model; 2) to investigate the subjective experience of occupants and strategies adopted to cope with unusual features of the dwelling space. Each apartment was analysed as regards a number of features including lay-out, size, windows and ventilation, and evaluated through a comparison with prescriptions of available repertories for public housing. Residents were interviewed in their homes through a semi-structured questionnaire. The results are discussed with reference to the aforementioned larger survey on housing preferences.