Focusing on Italy, the research aims at analysing the trend of the foundations’ share in the capital of the Italian banks whilst also considering the evolution of the regulatory framework. The principal goal is to highlight whether foundation shareholdings contribute to an improvement of the stability, governance and profitability of Italian banks. Banking foundations supported Italian banks in the process of consolidation and more recently in the process of recapitalisation. Furthermore, the loosening of the foundation-bank bond may have positive consequences. The authors conclude that it is very likely that this will improve the banks’ governance, determine a broader opening to the markets for their shareholdings, favour opening to new investors and will make the Italian financial system more sound as well as better fitting the needs of the real economy. Foundations will loosen their ties to investee banks and be able to allocate their resources to projects and initiatives in favour of the community, strengthening their grant-making activities.