Nasopharyngeal swabs were collected from children aged 3-5 years in central Italy who were attending day-care centres or hospital outpatient clinics. One hundred and twenty-one strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae isolated were tested for susceptibility to penicillin, cefotaxime, erythromycin, clindamycin, tetracycline, chloramphenicol and cotrimoxazole. A high prevalence of penicillin-resistant (14%), erythromycin-resistant (60%) and multiply resistant strains (53%) were found. An unusual finding was that 49 of the 64 (76.6%) multiply resistant strains were penicillin-susceptible, 28 serogroup 6 strains also being resistant to the other antibiotics tested. Such strains have not previously been reported from Italy but have the same features as strains recently found in child carriers in the eastern Mediterranean area.