The study describes changes in cardiovascular risk factors during 10 years of a community intervention program conducted in a rural area in Central Italy. Two areas were involved, one for treatment and one for reference. In 1983-84, 739 men and 859 women in the treatment area and 942 men and 1045 women in the control area, aged 20-69 years, were screened; total and HDL cholesterol, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, smoking habit, weight and height were measured. Between 1983 and 1993 several intervention activities based on community medicine were carried out in the treatment area. They were based on interaction with the local socio-sanitary institutions and school system in order to influence individual persons, small groups and entire community. Major effort was addressed to mass health education, nutrition education, antismoking-propaganda and detection and treatment of hypertension, diabetes and hyperlipidemia.