Today the Bank of Italy has published a brief informative guide (explainer) on the main characteristics of the various statistics available on banks' balance sheets. The intermediaries report a wide range of information to the Bank of Italy which then publishes them in aggregate form. Some statistics can be accessed directly, by interrogating the Bank of Italy's Statistical Database (BDS) online; other information is only accessible through synthetic indicators reported in the Bank of Italy's economic publications. For example, through the online BDS, users can access other aggregate data on individual banks' balance sheets based on the statistical reports (standalone balance sheets). These data do not allow the replication of specific indicators reported in the periodic publications and based on data collected from statutory or consolidated balance sheets for the purposes of supervision. The guide illustrates how best to exploit the wealth of information available in the BDS and interpret the analyses published.