This paper first distinguishes the explicit changes that have been made in the text of the Italian constitution from others that have affected how constitutional balances work (e.g. new electoral laws), before considering both together. The turning point in both cases was 1989 and the transition from the first to the second Italian political party system. Down to that time the first system that originated in the Cold War fractures in Italian politics remained in force with only marginal and incremental changes. After 1989, however, both Italy’s highly centralized structure and its system of proportional representation were called into question, resulting in the constitutional reform of 2001 that increased the powers of the regions and the electoral law reforms (which were not changes to the constitution). In both cases the consequences of these changes have proved to be contradictory, which is why reform of the Senate is now being contemplated to make the project for increasing the powers of regional and local government more coherent, as well as the form of government and the electoral laws in ways that will produce the majorities needed to make governments more cohesive and stable.