Italy is one of the countries participating in a prospective epidemiological survey of cryptococcosis set up in July 1997 by the European Confederation of Medical Mycology (ECMM). Over a 30-month period 156 cases, all caused by Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans, were reported by 29 hospitals in 9 regions. An ECMM questionnaire was used to report the clinical presentation and the diagnostic and treatment approach used. Cryptococcosis was associated with HIV infection in 147 cases and was considered indicative of AIDS in 65%. The estimated incidence in the Lombardy region was 0.85/100 in the AIDS population. One isolate from each of 129 patients was serotyped and genotyped. PCR fingerprinting using the primer (GACA)4 proved to be a more reproducible typing method than the slide agglutination test. Genotypes VN1 (serotype D), VN6 (serotype A) and VN3-VN4 (serotype AD hybrid strains) occurred in Italy at similar levels nationwide, but VN1 (D) was prevalent in the North. In vitro resistance to antifungals was uncommon.