Smuggling was a very common practice in the frontier borders of modern Europe and the Habsburg province of Como was no exception. Only recently has historiography started to investigate to this promising field of study, in which iusses of economic policy, territorial control, the relationship between center and periphery and the concept of border intertwine. By analysing the case of Como and comparing it with studies carried out about other epochs and territories, the author shows the geographical, economic, institutional and social causes that have caused the spread of the phenomenon. In addition, by basing his work on wide collection of judicial sources, he tries to trace the identity of the smuggler and his activity, showing the close relationships of solidarity between smugglers and local communities. The solutions and strategies adopted by the Habsburg institutions to repress smuggling will be reviewed, not only by presenting the norm, but also trying to understand how it was applied. The provincial court of Como will prove that Habsburg justice acted with severity, which was softe ned by a combination of prudence and security, in contrast to the black legend produced by some resurgent historiography at the expense of the Habsburg domination. Finally, he will try to understand the reasons that have prevented institutions from succeeding in the war against smugglers.
Keywords: Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia, Province of Como, Smuggling, Finance Guard, Border, Habsburg justice.