The picture was posted on Facebook on Monday, by Mario Turrini, a non-party candidate at Bologna's up-coming local elections on June 5th.
Although Turrini is standing on a non-party list, he is supporting Lucia Borgonzoni, a candidate with Italy's far right Northern League, in her bid to become city mayor.
The provocative poster was made by Turrini himself and contains a picture of a woman wearing a grey top who is naked from the waist down. To the left of the image there is a message reminding people to cast their vote next month.
“The photo is needed to attract your attention, otherwise you would never have read it,” says a note below the message explaining the choice of photo.
After Turrini shared the photo from his Facebook page, plenty of users accused him of being sexist and inappropriate.
Bologna resident Emily M. Clancey said that she felt the image showed how “strongly patriarchal” Italian society could be. Clancey also pointed out that the poster was especially insensitive given that Turrini is backing a female candidate for the mayor's office.
She the mocked Turrini for spelling the Italian word for ‘otherwise' (altrimenti) without an ‘l' on his poster
In wake of the criticism, Turrini put the poster to his Facebook page alongside an apology saying he “had not meant to offend anyone.”
“If I win I'll publish a picture of the other side,” he added.