This study aimed at relating the abundance and diversity of invertebrate communities of urban soils to chemical and physical soil characteristics and to identify the taxa most sensitive or tolerant to soil stressors. The invertebrate community of five urban soils in Naples, Italy, was sampled. To assess soil quality invertebrate community indices (Shannon, Simpson, Menhinick and Pielou indices), Acarina/Collembola ratios, and the soil biological quality index (QBS) were calculated. The chemical and physical characteristics of the soils strongly differed. Abundance rather than taxa richness of invertebrates were more affected by soil characteristics. The community was more abundant and diverse in the soils with high organic matter and water content and low metal (Cu, Pb, Zn) concentrations. The taxa more resistant to the urban environment included Acarina, Enchytraeids, Collembola and Nematoda. Collembolans appeared particularly sensitive to changing soil properties. Among the investigated indices, QBS seems most appropriate for soil quality assessment. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.