This paper reviews some Italian studies focusing on the political uses of language and communication which have been published over the last 40 years. Firstly, a distinction is made between studies of a historical-linguistic type, the rhetorical analysis of leaders' communication strategies, and semiotic investigations of the way political communication works on newspapers, Tv and the Internet. The author takes sides with scholars aiming at the realization of a permanent "observatory" of politics from a linguistic point of view. Secondly, attention is paid to the proposal of a "Superior Council" for the defence of the Italian language by legislators. Academic criticism of this project is reviewed, and a plea for a more careful consideration of the serious cultural gaps of Italian society is made.