Keywords: History of Clock Time; National Time; Public Time; Social Time; Contemporary Italian History; State and Nation-Building.
The essay aims to outline a process that historians have so far underestimated: the relationship between political power and public time. Who establishes and organizes the time that must apply to all others? It is not so much a practical or scientific matter - it is a political problem that concerns the idea of the nation-state. The choice of a single time measurement system valid throughout the national territory is relatively recent in both European and extra-European states. The civil timetable is the result of a historical-political process that begins during the Enlightenment and spreads as a state law in the second half of the nineteenth century. It is therefore a creation that has its own history, with winners and losers, and it is a central and now global aspect of how our world has become what it is. Historiographical reflection can make a decisive contribution to its understanding, but much work remains to be done.