The paper investigates the coexistence of different organisational patterns of local productions and evaluate which local governance may be more appropriate in a globalized agro-food scenery. We analyze, through the spatial analysis tools and the use of suitable indicators at municipality level, some PDO/PGI products in two Italian regions, Veneto and Emilia Romagna, which adopted very different strategies. The regional institutions in Veneto preferred to individualize "from the top" the quality agro-food districts at provincial level. In Emilia Romagna, instead, the policy makers decided to recognize the initiatives from the "bottom", born through various types of agreements. The spatial analysis allows to select the most appropriate indicators in order to identify homogeneous local systems, reducing the complexity of the issues to be addressed in the definition of their geographic boundaries. The results of our analysis allow to evaluate these approaches, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of two different models of the agro-food districts. The purpose of our comparison is not to suggest the best model to be transferred to other regions, but rather to assess whether the regional strategies are appropriate to the specificities of their territories.