From the medieval period to the modern world, prophecy has remained a privileged medium for interpreting and shaping Italian political thought and reality. This is what the twelve contributions of this thematic issue show, by exploring the modalities and potentialities of prophetic discourse and the need for it, in different key moments of the history of Italy. Why turn to prophecy? Under which forms and with which aims? How might we understand the character of prophetic inflexions that appear in literature and in political discourse? Studied in the use made of it by poets, thinkers and political men, prophecy appears as an attempt to interpret the present, to formulate the imminence and urgency, in order to move to action. Steeped in a religious tradition, from which they sometimes detach themselves, such uses of prophecy reveal a search for an efficacy of word and thought, confronted with the imperious course of history.