Italy became a country of immigration later than other European countries, and when it happened the Italian society was not prepared to become a country of destination. Sudden, unwanted immigration flows has prevented Italy since the late ’80s to produce a coherent system of norms and laws that would have been able to respond to both Italian residents' the and immigrant population demands, needs and expectations. At the present stage, Italy is facing a dramatic situation with illegal migration coming from the east and south shore of the Mediterranean.
The chosen local context for ethnography ,Genoa, has some peculiar specificities in relation to the Italian national context. The city has recently changed from an industrial economic-based society towards a third sector, services and tourism society. The population has the highest age average and the lowest birth rates in Italy.
In this context migration is an influential element that has modified and affected local society. Genoa is a gateway for migration flows from the south shore of the Mediterranean, and has faced large immigration flows since the 90s, especially labour migrants.