The head of Italy's main business federation warned in an interview on Thursday that the next six months will be the worst for the country in 50 years as the economic crisis reaches its peak.
"The next six months will be terrible, the worst in 50 years," Giorgio Squinzi, the head of the Confindustria lobby, told La Repubblica daily.
"We will reach the apex of the crisis," he said.
His comments follow an inconclusive general election this week that has left Italy with no workable majority in parliament.
Analysts warn new elections may be required within months to resolve the impasse.
"The situation is very serious," Squinzi said.
"GDP (gross domestic product) has shrunk 8.1 percent since 2007 and 3.2 million people have been out of work," he said.
"Politicians have to create the conditions for growth. This is a last chance," he warned.
Asked about the political situation, Squinzi suggested a grand coalition government to deal with urgent issues.
"The real economy cannot wait for political machinations," he said.
Squinzi called for "shock therapy" for Italy, with tax cuts and immediate payment of debts that the state has accrued with the private sector.
He also dismissed the idealistic economic proposals made by the anti-establishment Five Star Movement led by former comedian Beppe Grillo, which had a shock electoral success.
"If we applied Grillo's programme, Italian industry would be finished. We would become a rural and bucolic country," he said.