The Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) has been used to define the ‘broader’ (BAP), ‘medium’ (MAP) and ‘narrow’ autism phenotypes (NAP). We used a new Italian version of the AQ to test if difference on AQ scores and the distribution of BAP, MAP and NAP in autism parents (n = 245) versus control parents (n = 300) were replicated in a Sicilian sample. Parents of children with autism spectrum conditions scored higher than the control parents on total AQ, social skills and communication subscales, and exhibited higher rates of BAP, MAP and NAP. We conclude that the Italian AQ is a cross-culturally reliable measure of these different phenotypes, and can be used to identify a phenotypic gradient of severity of autistic traits in families. To understand the molecular basis of these phenotypes will require its use in genetic association studies.