The head of a nuclear power company was shot and wounded as he left his home in the northern city of Genoa.
Roberto Adinolfi, 53, was shot in the leg by a gunman on a motorbike yesterday but is said not to be in a serious condition.
Mr Adinolfi is the chief executive of Ansaldo Nucleare, a company linked to the Italian defence conglomerate Finmeccanica.
He was approached in the street by a motorbike carrying two people wearing helmets, one of whom fired three shots at him. The bullet fractured his right knee. Shooting people in the legs was a trademark practice by the Red Brigades, a left-wing guerrilla group that carried out a campaign of murder and kidnapping aimed at destabilising Italy in the 1970s and 1980s. A police source said magistrates were considering whether anarchists might have been responsible.
Politicians were quick to condemn Mr Adinolfi's shooting, some of them blaming a spreading "climate of hatred" in the recession-hit country.