Atherosclerotic plaque plays a crucial role for the development of ischaemic diseases and, therefore, its early diagnosis and feature can help to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular events. Detection of early atherogenesis and characterization of plaque feature are the major end-points of research in cardiovascular imaging. Different techniques have been proposed as instrument for morphological and functional study of vascular walls. The purpose of this review is to underline the possibility of in vivo detecting the different stages of atherogenesis by using imaging techniques as well as their relationship with other risk factors in an attempt to assess the meaning of vascular lesions. Very promising results seem to emerge by the analysis of the literature on the subject, although different patterns are yet to be clarified.