Gunshots have been fired in front of the Italian prime minister's office in Rome as the new government of Enrico Letta was being sworn in at the president's palace around a kilometre away, RAI state television reported.

It said there were injuries and quoted a witness who said that she had heard at least eight shots fired.

The incident took place on Sunday as Leftist moderate Enrico Letta was formally sworn in as Italy's new prime minister at the head of a coalition cabinet at a ceremony lead by President Giorgio Napolitano.

The cabinet's 21 ministerial posts have gone to a mix of experts and institutional figures from across the political spectrum to form a "grand coalition" which brings to an end a damaging political deadlock left by inconclusive elections.

Letta's ministers stepped forward one by one to swear allegiance to the republic before President Giorgio Napolitano, who personally picked Letta as prime minister and had a central sole in the choice of his cabinet team

Source: Agencies