Keywords: Italian political parties' middle-level elites, political culture, ideology, left-right dimension, political party coalitions.
The article analyzes the political culture of Italian political parties from the point of view of their national congress delegates. The analysis is based on data drawn from over 4,100 interviews of party delegates conducted from 2004 to 2009 at the national conventions of 15 different political parties. There are two aims this work. The first is to reconstruct the principal dimension of party delegates' political culture via factor analysis. Two factors emerge: the Toc index (tradition, order and capital) and the Fei index (trust, Europe and immigration). These factors relate to two political culture dimensional spaces in which parties may be placed. This modality allows the analysis of party coalition strength from a cultural perspective. The focus of the second objective was to analyze how the suggested meanings of parties' political culture could bias delegates' positions on the left-right dimension. Regression analysis shows that that the Toc and Fei indices effectively explain 2/3 of variance of the delegates' (and parties') positions on the left-right dimension.