No fewer than six EU rallies have taken place in Rome
Federalists, nationalists, populists, unionists and anarchists were all catered for in the Italian capital which is also playing host to official events marking the 60th anniversary of the EU's founding treaty.
While 27 EU leaders – Theresa May was conspicuous by her absence – staged a solemn celebration on the ancient Capitoline Hill, thousands of ordinary people took to the streets, some waving the blue and gold flag of the crisis-plagued EU, others brandishing angry placards.
More than 30,000 demonstrators took part in the various gatherings with 5,000 police and security forces on standby in case of violence.
Anti-EU protesters make their voices heard in Rome
The EU experience is over for us
EU supporter Lucio Pagani said: "The others are very much against Europe and are very critical.
“We instead are for a Europe in the spirit of the original treaty. A free, democratic Europe.”
A very different message was heard in a university hall in the heart of Rome, where the rightist Fratelli d'Italia (Brothers of Italy) party staged a meeting to denounce the EU and to demand radical reform.
Party chief Giorgia Meloni told supporters: "The EU experience is over for us.
“It needs to be shut down and we need to start a new path together that is a confederation of free and sovereign nations.”
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All tastes were catered for in Rome where six pro and anti-EU rallies were held
Italy used to be one of the most pro-EU states in Europe but support has slumped with many people angry about the euro currency, which they hold responsible for the country's marked economic decline since its launch in 1999.
Some people are also upset over the influx of more than half a million immigrants since 2014 and accuse the EU of doing little or nothing to help Italy deal with the newcomers.
An ISPOS poll published on Saturday showed just 24 per cent of Italians thought the EU brought Italy advantages, while 44 per cent said it brought disadvantages. The poll found 75 per cent of people said Italy was irrelevant or had a secondary role within the EU.
An anti-EU rally in the Italian capital Dramatic images as protestors storm the streets of Skopje Wed, March 22, 2017
Tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Macedonia's capital, Skopje, Tuesday to protest a visit by a European Union envoy who is trying to break the political deadlock that has left the country without a government for three months
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A protestor makes their EU views known
Sabino De Razza, a 52-year-old social worker from Bari, said: "We are against people celebrating this Europe that was born to bring well-being to everyone but in reality, over the past 10 years, has brought only impoverishment to southern Europe.”
Less than a mile away, EU supporters laid out a huge EU flag near the old Roman Temple of the Vestal Virgins, while the European anthem – Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" – blared out over speakers.
Andrew Macmillan, a Scot who has lived in Italy since 1970, said: “My father served in two world wars and his life was blighted by war. I was born towards the end of World War Two and the EU, not through force, has guaranteed trust.”