Copper catalysts prepared by chemisorption-hydrolysis technique over silica (Cu/Si) and silica-alumina (Cu/SiAl) supports were studied to understand the role of the support on the nature and surface properties of the copper species stabilized on their surfaces. The morphological and surface properties of the copper phases have been characterized by complementary techniques, such as HRTEM, EXAFS-XANES, EPR, XPS, and FTIR. For the FTIR investigation, molecular probes (CO and NO) were also adsorbed on the surfaces to test the reactivity of the copper species. Moreover, the catalytic performances of the two catalysts have been compared in the HC-SCR reaction (NO reduction by C(2)H(4)) performed in highly oxidant conditions. The superior activity and selectivity of the supported silica-alumina catalyst with respect to that supported on silica could be related with the different nature of the copper species stabilized on the two supports, as emerged from the results obtained from the spectroscopic investigations. Small and well-dispersed CuO particles were present on silica, whereas isolated copper ions predominated on silica-alumina, likely in regions rich in alumina that made some exchangeable sites available, as indicated by FTIR spectra of adsorbed CO. The less positive global charge of copper species on Cu/SiAl than in Cu/Si has been confirmed by EPR, XPS, and EXAFS-XANES analyses.