Truck drivers across Italy went on strike on Monday against increased fuel prices, while taxis also held a national protest over government reforms to increase competition, causing disruptions nationwide.
Truck drivers set up around 60 roadblocks, snarling traffic on the motorways, and said they intended to stay until Friday.
"The high rate of participation has exceeded our expectations and shows the gravity of the crisis," said Maurizio Longo, head of the Trasportounito union.
"There is real and tangible unease for the companies and for the families of truck drivers who are fighting for their survival," he said.
Truckers are calling for a reduction in diesel prices which have reached the record level of 1.72 euros ($2.24) a litre due to the tax increase agreed under an austerity budget by Prime Minister Mario Monti's government last month.
The truckers' strike prevented the delivery of goods Monday, angering business leaders, and car-maker Fiat even announced that it would suspend production at a factory in southern Italy due to a lack of parts.
"The blocking of the motorways will not be tolerated," Interior Minister Annamaria Cancellieri said as officials indicated strikers could face sanctions.
Taxi drivers also halted work in a protest action due to end at 2100 GMT.
"They've woken up a sleeping giant," said the head of the Ugl-Taxi union, Pietro Marinelli, calling the government's reforms "irresponsible".
Taxi drivers are particularly angry that the government is planning to give the authority to issue new licences to an independent agency.
Other groups affected by the government's planned reforms -- including pharmacy owners and lawyers -- are set to protest in the coming days.
Monti has said the reforms are needed to revive Italy's economy and to give more opportunities to young people by reducing the power of interest groups.