The point of view I take to summarize some of the research activities in Italy in the field of hadronic physics, is determined by the (today accepted) fundamental degrees of freedom of the strong interactions, namely quarks and gluons. The Sec. 2 is devoted to the link of the fundamental theory of strong interactions, Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD), with effective degrees of freedom often used to study specific problems, in particular those degrees of freedom that played a peculiar and historical role in the investigation of hadronic systems: the constituent quarks and the related quark models. In Secs. 3 and 4 I discuss recent results on the electromagnetic interactions with hadrons at low energy studied within non-relativistic and relativistic quark models, respectively. Sec. 5 is devoted to the discussion of the electroweak structure of the nucleon and Sec. 6 to deep inelastic scattering. Conclusive remarks are drawn in Sec. 7.