OBJECTIVES To offer a snapshot of the personal health habits of Italian cardiologists, the Survey on Cardiac Risk Profile and Lifestyle Habits in a Cohort of Italian Cardiologists (SOCRATES) study was undertaken. BACKGROUND Cardiologists' cardiovascular profile and lifestyle habits are poorly known worldwide. METHODS A Web-based electronic self-reported survey, accessible through a dedicated website, was used for data entry, and data were transferred via the web to a central database. The survey was divided in 4 sections: baseline characteristics, medical illnesses and traditional cardiovascular risk factors, lifestyle habits and selected medication use. The e-mail databases of three national scientific societies were used to survey a large and representative sample of Italian cardiologists. RESULTS During the 3-month period of the survey, 1770 out of the 5240 cardiologists contacted (33.7%) completed and returned one or more sections of the questionnaire. More than 49% of the participants had 1 out of 5 classical risk factors (e.g. hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, active smoking, diabetes and previous vascular events). More than 28% of respondents had 2 to 5 risk factors and only 22.1% had none and therefore, according to age and sex, could be considered at low-intermediate risk. Despite the reported risk factors, more than 90% of cardiologists had a self-reported risk perception quantified as mild, such as low or intermediate. Furthermore, overweight/obesity, physical inactivity and stress at work or at home were commonly reported, as well as a limited use of cardiovascular drugs, such as statins or aspirin. CONCLUSIONS The average cardiovascular profile of Italian cardiologist is unlikely to be considered ideal or even favorable according to recent statements and guidelines regarding cardiovascular risk. Thus, there is a large room for improvement and a need for education and intervention.