The shock waves of this election have swept away the entire political system that has managed Italy for the past two decades. Dominated by populist parties, this is now being called the dawn of Italy's Third Republic.
As foreign press crews converge on Italy to report the elections, outsiders seem baffled at the plethora of parties and, instead of ideologies, the people in charge. Here's a listing of just who are these people.
As Italy plunges toward national general elections March 4, the walkup offers plenty of occasions for Italians to see themselves as others see them, with no holds barred. Herewith a sampling of the international press.
Not real candidates: VOTE FOR ME guerrilla posters
This is the last week before polling is prohibited, and in these last days the campaigning for general elections March 4 is both fraught and fragmented, with no fewer than 28 national parties facing off against each other.
As the year winds down, Italy looks ahead nervously to political 2018, when national general elections may take place as early as March. The predicted three-way split is almost certain to make forming a new government a challenge.