The Italian economy suffered a quarter-on-quarter contraction of 4.7 per cent in the first quarter of the year, official statistics agency Istat said on Thursday.
The major drop was expected as a result of novel coronavirus lockdown measures.
Italy is one of the countries in the world that has been worst hit by the pandemic.
The ANSA news agency quoted Istat as saying that the quarterly contraction was the largest ever since the start of the current historical time series in the first quarter of 1995.
Italian bank UniCredit had been expecting an even larger drop of 5 per cent.