Cecchinato beat former champion and 12-time major winner Novak Djokovic 6-3 7-6(4) 1-6 7-6(11) at the French Open on Tuesday.
He, therefore, became the first Italian man to reach a Grand Slam semi-final in 40 years.
Cecchinato cruised through the opening set as Djokovic was suffering from neck pain before the Serbian fought back after the loss of the second.
His opponent, however, was the stronger in an epic fourth-set tiebreak, prevailing on his fourth match point.
The last Italian man to take part in a major semi-final was Corrado Barazzutti at the 1978 French Open.
The unseeded Cecchinato, who broke down in tears after the match, next faces Austrian Dominic Thiem for a place in Sunday’s final.