Charged by Braudel and the Annales school with being too evenementiel, in order to renew itself political history had to face the methodological issue of «explanation». The key terrain for this revival came to be the understanding of the rise of the great dictatorships of the 20th century. This new investigation of the mechanisms of «the public arena» owed much to the doctrines of Max Weber (including the building of idealtypes), as well as to the endeavor of conceptual history, which blended the political with the intellectual and social - a trait that was to become typical of the new political history. This approach proved especially productive in the field of constitutional history, of the history of political systems and political parties. This tortuous path is also at the core of the adventure of «Ricerche di Storia Politica» since its birth, thirty years ago.