In Italy, environmental protection and energy conservation have become very important since the increase in oil prices. The law requires that all waste waters have a B.O.D. of 40 mg/l by 1986 so there has been an expansion of purification plants since 1976, using anaerobic digestion. The report deals with the current state of anaerobic treatment in Italy with particular reference to (1) animal wastes. In intensive holdings, anaerobic digestion leads to a decrease in pollution and an increase in biogas generation which can be used to cover the energy demand of the process. The factors which influence the builders of digestors for farms are considered. (2) Non toxic industrial wastes. These are the waste waters emanating from the meat packing, brewing, pharmaceutical and chemical industries. Particular reference is made to the distillery plants using anaerobic treatment prior to aerobic digestion. (3) Urban wastes. The advantages and the disadvantages are considered and further research and development is recommended. 20 references.