Background and objectives ADPKD is erroneously perceived as a not rare condition, which is mainly due to the repeated citation of a mistaken interpretation of old epidemiological data, as reported in the Dalgaard’s work (1957). Even if ADPKD is not a common condition, the correct prevalence of ADPKD in the general population is uncertain, with a wide range of estimations reported by different authors. In this work, we have performed a meta-analysis of available epidemiological data in the European literature. Furthermore we collected the diagnosis and clinical data of ADPKD in a province in the north of Italy (Modena). We describe the point and predicted prevalence of ADPKD, as well as the main clinical characteristics of ADPKD in this region. Methods We looked at the epidemiological data according to specific parameters and criteria in the Pubmed, CINAHL, Scopus and Web of Science databases. Data were summarized using linear regression analysis. We collected patients’ diagnoses in the Province of Modena according to accepted clinical criteria and/or molecular analysis. Predicted prevalence has been calculated through a logistic regression prediction applied to the at-risk population. Results The average prevalence of ADPKD, as obtained from 8 epidemiological studies of sufficient quality, is 2.7: 10,000 (CI95 = 0.73–4.67). The point prevalence of ADPKD in the province of Modena is 3.63: 10,000 (CI95 = 3.010–3.758). On the basis of the collected pedigrees and identification of the at-risk subjects, the predicted prevalence in the Province of Modena is 4.76: 10,000 (CI 95% = 4.109–4.918). Conclusion As identified in our study, point prevalence is comparable with the majority of the studies of literature, while predicted prevalence (4.76: 10,000) generally appears higher than in the previous estimates of the literature, with a few exceptions. Thus, this could suggest that undiagnosed ADPKD subjects, as predicted by our approach, could be relevant and will most likely require more clinical attention. Nevertheless, our estimation, in addition to the averaged ones derived from literature, not exceeding the limit of 5:10,000 inhabitants, are compatible with the definition of rare disease adopted by the European Medicines Agency and Food and Drug Administration. © 2018 Solazzo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.