ST-segment and non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI, NSTEMI) have opposite epidemiology, the latter being nowadays more common than the former. Consistently with these epidemiological trends, application of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines on the management of NSTEMI should be promoted. We compared clinical features, hospital management and prognosis of STEMI/NSTEMI in an unselected cohort of 1,496 prospectively enrolled patients (STEMI, 36.9 % and NSTEMI, 63.1 %), admitted in 1 year to one of the six hospitals in Florence health district (Italy). Vital status was assessed after 1 year. NSTEMI patients were older, more often female, and affected by cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular comorbidities. Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) was performed more often in STEMI (82 %) than in NSTEMI patients (48 %, p < 0.001). Aspirin, clopidogrel, statins, beta-blockers, and ACE-inhibitors were prescribed more frequently in STEMI. In-hospital mortality was significantly lower in NSTEMI than in STEMI (4.2 vs. 8.9 %, p < 0.001), even after adjusting for confounders in a multivariable logistic model (OR 0.27, 95 % CI 0.16-0.45). One-year mortality was similar in NSTEMI and STEMI patients in an unadjusted comparison (18.0 vs. 16.7 %, p = 0.51), but it was lower in NSTEMI patients in multivariable Cox analysis (HR 0.56, 95 % CI 0.42-0.75). PCI reduced the risk of 1-year mortality similarly in STEMI (HR 0.47, 95 % CI 0.28-0.79) and NSTEMI (HR 0.41, 95 % CI 0.28-0.60). PCI reduces mortality in both STEMI and NSTEMI, but it is underutilised in patients with NSTEMI. To improve overall prognosis of AMI, efforts should be made at improving the care of NSTEMI patients.