The populist, anti-migration, anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the even more extreme LEGA party have emerged as the clear winners of the Italian elections.
If the exit polls are confirmed, they may have enough seats between them to form a government with support from the small Italian Brotherhood party
Italy is left with a hung parliament and is a nation where the divisions between North, Centre and South are starker than ever.
The governing centre-left party of Matteo Renzi has been severely punished by electors and is not strong enough to form a coalition even with Berlusconi's Forza Italia which itself has fewer seats that the Lega.
There is certainly not going to be a grand coalition between the PD and Forza Italia - they simply do not have the votes. If no government can be formed Italy will return to the polls but not until there has been a period possibly lasting several months of confusion, instability and negotiations, all of which is likely to swell the populist tide.
This is a shocking if not entirely unexpected result. Turn out was low, but in the poorer areas of Italy where participation rates are lowest, more voters went to the polls than expected.
If you are concerned about the future of Europe then now is the time to stand up and be counted.
We are working in Italy and across Europe to champion European citizenship, freedom of movement and the principle of solidarity in Europe.