Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS) is a genetic autosomal-recessive disease (formerly grouped with Laurence-Moon-Biedl syndrome but considered today as a separate entity) characterized by abdominal obesity, mental retardation, dysphormic extremities (syndactyly, brachydactyly or polydactyly), retinal dystrophy or pigmentary retinopathy, hypogonadism or hypogenitalism (limited to male patients) and kidney structural abnormalities or functional impairment. The expression and severity of the various clinical BBS features show inter- and intrafamilial variability. This study focuses on three cases of familial BBS--two sisters and one brother (66, 64 and 51 years of age, respectively)--with the main cardinal findings of the disease plus a classic 'metabolic syndrome' (characterized by abdominal obesity, atherogenic dyslipidaemia, raised blood pressure, insulin resistance with or without glucose intolerance, and prothrombotic risk and proinflammatory states). One female patient (not affected by reproductive dysfunction) had three healthy offspring, while the other two patients were unmarried. Another severely affected brother died at 70 years of age; two other brothers are lean but affected by nephropathy, retinopathy, slight mental retardation, polydactyly, hypertension and thrombotic diseases, and had healthy offspring. BBS is a rather rare but severe syndrome that is often mis- or undiagnosed. Ophthalmologists, endocrinologists and nephrologists should be aware of BBS because of its adverse prognosis--early onset of blindness, associated findings of metabolic syndrome and increased vascular risk, and severe renal impairment (the most frequent cause of reduced survival and death early in life).