Illegality in cross-border movements is a long-lasting phenomenon. It has existed at least since European migration reached a mass dimension in the second half of the nineteenth century. Until the end of intra-European mass movements of individuals, during the 1970s, it impacted mainly Southern European workers in the Northern European developed countries. The decline of intra-European mass migrations, the advent in the 1960s of the Community Code on the Free Movement of Communitarian Workers and the birth of the EU put an end to the phenomenon only for communitarian persons within the EU. At the same time, the increase of extra-communitarian immigration strongly renewed illegal movements and involved also the Southern European nations as receiving countries. What has changed in regards to the causes and the dimension of the phenomenon? What has changed as to the concern and the attitude towards it by public opinion and rulers? Is there a continuity both for the immigrant and receiving countries’ practices involved in this issue? Before I try to answer these questions, I will describe the main aspects of Italy’s illegal emigration in the past and nowadays. Italy is, in fact, one of the most representative European countries as to both these dimensions.