Armed Italian Carabinieri police officers at a road checkpoint. File photo: AFP
The high-speed chase began after the driver was stopped by traffic police on the A1, the motorway between Rome and Florence, at noon on Tuesday.
He attempted to evade police by reversing, driving the wrong way down the motorway and breaking through a toll booth before being brought to a halt by police, local media reports.
Police set up a road block at Calenzaro, north of Florence, where they rammed the suspect's vehicle with a patrol car to bring it to a halt. Armed Carabinieri officers then fired several shots at the car’s tyres.
No one was injured in the incident.
Police then discovered an axe, knife, scythe and camping gear in the suspect’s car.
The man, who reportedly lives in Vicenza and has American citizenship, was arrested and faces several charges including the unjustified possession of dangerous items.