According to many scholars, the polysemic nature of laicity has stimulated, during the last decade, a renewed interest on the status and legitimacy of religion in the public space. This paper focuses on the relation between public sphere and religion starting from a theoretical reflection on the meaning of laicity in Italy. In the higly instituzionalized Italian Catholic context, laicity seems to be subjected to significative change. The article's starting point is the ideological controversy about the presence of crucifix in the italian public school. After have outlined the case of this normative conflict, the essay points out the social and cultural mechanisms that require new interpretations. In particular, the processes of individualization of religious beliefs and the pluralization of religious communities are the most relevant factors that affects insitutional and normative relations between the state and religious communities. These trends suggest that to reconsider the concept of laicity implies rethinking the notion of separation and the boundaries between private religiosity and public religion.