In the last decade a few former leaders of the Italian Communist Party have published texts interweaving personal memories and reflections on the history of the Party and of the international communist movement. These books can be used to recreate the concreteness of party life, the relations between grass roots membership and the leaders, the training of intermediate cadres, the ways in which the different political "lines" were experienced within the organisation. The programmes and the strategies of the Italian Communist Party emerge as having been strongly conditioned by a few great personalities such as Togliatti and Berlinguer, who were able to establish an intense and symbolic political relationship with the "communist people", those bearers of an original social, economic, and political conception. According to the author, the end of the Italian Communist Party has marked the scattering of that political and social force in directions which, twenty years since, are still struggling to find a precise definition.
Keywords: Partito Comunista Italiano, Togliatti, Berlinguer, militanti politici, "terza via"