The data show Italy's high unemployment rate stabilizing with last month's figure matching that of February, which was revised down from the provisional estimate of 13 percent.
There were however signs of improvement as the number of unemployed people in Italy inched down by 0.2 percent between February and March, with 3.2 million people out of work last month.
The situation remains most precarious for the under-25s, with Italy's youth unemployment rate hitting 42.7 percent in March – 0.1 percent lower than February this year but 3.1 percent higher than a year ago.
According to the new Istat figures, Italy's employment rate is creeping up, with 22.4 million people in work in March, 0.3 percent more than in February.
Reacting to the figures on Wednesday, Susanna Camusso, general secretary of the Italian trade union Cgil (the Italian Confederation of Labour), was quoted by Italian news agency ANSA as saying that the May 1st Labour Day would be “characterized by work that isn’t there, especially for young people.
“It [May 1st] is an unemployment holiday rather than one for work,” she added.
"We can’t talk of coming out of the [financial] if the unemployment figure is not reversed significantly.”