It is a small sea divided, coast from coast, by enormous disparities in wealth, opportunity and security.
So many, including Albanians in 1991, have taken a chance crossing the Mediterranean’s troubled waters. When Albania descended into anarchy, thousands took to ships and made for the southern Italian port city of Bari.
Europe has proved a deadly destination for many migrants. Images of bodies on the beach in Spain testify to the risks that thousands take each year getting to Europe in craft that are barely sea-worthy.
But the numbers of migrants heading for Spain has dropped off recently as the Italian island of Lampadusa has become the preferred destination for migrants.
The island has a population of 6,000 and a surface area of 20 square kilometres. It was always going to struggle as an entry point into Europe and to house migrants as they are processed. It has now become emblematic of the continual influx and casualties that accompany human trafficking.