"We are tired, we are fed-up, we can't live in this way," said Aida Utaggio, protesting Friday against the Italian government's proposed budget for next year.
Prime Minister Enrico Letta's budget for 2014 was the target of union ire, with civil servants and transport workers demonstrating against further austerity and budget cuts.
The protests were part of a two-day strike, organized by the left-wing unions COBAS and USB.
"With this budget the government is continuing to hurt a country which is already on its knees," said COBAS spokesman Piero Bernocchi, according to Reuters.
USB's union coordinator Pierpaolo Leonardi said Letta's government was imposing directives from the European Union, disregarding the plight of Italian workers.
The strike has already led to the cancellation of more than 100 flights and 80 percent of the capital's buses not running. The Associated Press said some school and health workers were also on strike.
Italy has been in a recession since the middle of 2011.
When Letta introduced the budget on Tuesday, he said, "I don't want to make dramatic claims but this is a significant step in the right direction, with lower taxes for companies and workers."