On Friday morning Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta described Mandela as "an example of generous commitment to rights and regional integration". Letta said Italians were mourning the loss with "a pain that we all feel in our hearts".
Other key political figures took to Twitter to respond to the news of the 95-year-old anti-Apartheid leader.
Italy's first black minister, Cecile Kyenge, said a simple "Farewell Madiba", using Mandela's clan name.
Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino tweeted that Mandela was "a source of inspiration for politics, rights and culture".