The ministry said in a statement it was "concerned" about the matter and it was "launching an inquiry into the manufacturer".
The move followed the revelations in the United States that Volkswagen had equipped diesel cars with a device that can cheat pollution tests. Italy said it needs to know if any such cars were sold in Italy.
Volkswagen admitted on Tuesday that as many as 11 million diesel cars worldwide are equipped with the pollution cheating device.
The German government has already launched an investigation into whether Volkswagen or other carmakers are doing anything similar in Germany or Europe.
France's Finance Minister Michel Sapin called for a Europe-wide probe, telling French radio that it seemed necessary to check cars manufactured by other European carmakers in order to reassure the public.
"What we are dealing with is making sure people avoid being poisoned by pollution," Sapin said.