Esophageal carcinomas are steadily rising worldwide; they rank sixth among tumors. Adenocarcinoma is the most common histological type in Western countries while squamous carcinoma is more common in the developing countries. Both types are preceded by pre-neoplastic lesions rappresented by Barrett's esophagus for adenocarcinoma and low and high grade dysplasia for squamous carcinoma. Some continuity exists between dysplastic lesions and frankly invasive tumors. Moreover rare hystological types have been described. The surgical pathologist plays an important role in evaluating small endoscopic biopsies as well as in examining surgical specimens from esophagectomy. In the former case the role is exclusively diagnostic while in the latter surgical radicality, cancer stage and outcomes of neoadjuvant therapies are assessed. All these data are crucial not only for prognosis but also for therapy planning.