Thousands of protesting students blocked the center of Rome on Tuesday as part of nationwide demonstrations against proposed budget cuts in the university system.
Some 50,000 students were stopped by a wall of police vans and lines of officers in riot gear from reaching the nation's parliament where lawmakers are voting on a controversial university reform bill.
The Italian Students Union says hundreds of thousands of students around the country were rallying against the bill.
Protestors disrupted traffic in central Rome, as well as Milan, Turin, Naples, Venice, Palermo and Bari. Brief scuffles erupted between students and riot police in the capital.
The protests are the latest in a wave of demonstrations against austerity measures being introduced by governments across Europe.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.