The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of poor glycaemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in an Italian population-based cohort of subjects with Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM). Out of a cohort of 1967 subjects (estimated completeness of ascertainment 80%), 1574 (80%) were investigated, and adherence to targets for control of the European NIDDM Policy Group assessed. Prevalence of poor glycemic control (HbA1c > = 8) was 47.7%. Obesity was present in 23.4% of the cohort, hypertension in 83.4%, hypertriglyceridaemia (>2.26 mM) in 19.3%, hypercholesterolaemia (>6.46 mM) in 25.5%, and low HDL-cholesterol (<0.90 mM in men and <1.03 mM in women) in 13.7%. Only 153 (9.7%) subjects were free from other disorders. Subjects were treated as follows: 26.2% exclusively by general practitioners; 13.3%, 69.9%, 10.9%, and 5.9% with diet, oral hypoglycaemic drugs, insulin, and both, respectively. Multiple linear regression analysis showed associations between HbA1c and fibrinogen (p < 0.001), total cholesterol (p = 0.006), and triglycerides (p = 0.04), independent of age, sex, duration of diabetes, and antidiabetic treatment. Neither BMI nor blood pressure were associated with HbA1c. In conclusion, this Italian population-based cohort of subjects with Type 2 DM showed a high prevalence of poor glycaemic control, high consumption of oral hypoglycaemic drugs, and an independent association between glycaemic control and cardiovascular risk factors (fibrinogen, total cholesterol, and triglycerides). The presence of obesity or hypertension was not significantly associated with glycaemic control.