A total of 1,116 clinically isolated strains belonging to Staphylococcus aureus (200), Staphylococcus epidermidis (200), Streptococcus pneumoniae (20), Escherchia coli (200), Klebsiella spp. (177), Serratia marcescens (22), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (224), Haemophilus influenzae (35) and Salmonella (38) from the Department of Infectious Diseases, La Sapienza University in Rome (Italy) were tested against three fluoroquinolones (ofloxacin, ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin) and 10 other antibiotics (augmentin, ampicillin, cefaclor, cefixime, cefotaxime, cotrimoxazole, gentamicin, minocycline, oxacillin and vancomycin). Fluoroquinolones inhibited essentially about 100% of H. influenzae, Salmonella and S. pneumoniae, more than 75% of Staphylococcus including methicillin-resistant strains, and about 90% of Enterobacteriaceae and 50% of P. aeruginosa. Minimal inhibitory concentration values ranged from < 0.015 to > 32 micrograms/ml for Klebsiella, S. aureus and epidermidis, E. coli and P. aeruginosa; from < 0.015 to 2 micrograms/ml for Salmonella; from 0.03 to 16 micrograms/ml for Serratia; from < 0.015 to 1 microgram/ml for Haemophilus; and from 0.5 to 2 micrograms/ml for S. pneumoniae. Levofloxacin and to a lesser extent ofloxacin and ciprofloxacin, generally exhibited a greater activity than the other agents against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Regarding the distribution of resistant strains in Italy, we found a peculiar pattern of resistance as far as E. coli and P. aeruginosa were concerned. Quality control parameters are also summarized. S. epidermidis resulted as a new emergent pathogen especially in immunocompromised patients and its level of sensitivity has been modified over the last few years. In fact, the percentage of resistant strains to antibiotics or the percentage of methicillin-resistant isolates (in our study 35%), has gradually increased. Levofloxacin and ofloxacin showed good activity against staphylococcal strains compared with the majority of other antibiotics. These results suggest that the newer quinolones are promising antimicrobial agents for various infections.