Italy voted on Sunday in one of the most unpredictable elections in years, with many voters expressing rage against a discredited elite and doubt that a government will emerge strong enough to combat a severe economic crisis.

"I am pessimistic. Nothing will change," said Luciana Li Mandri, 37, as she cast a ballot in the Sicilian capital Palermo on the first of two days of voting that continues on Monday.

"The usual thieves will be in government."

Her gloom reflected the mood across Italy, where many voters said they thought the new administration would not last long, just the opposite of what Italy needs to combat the longest slump in 20 years, mounting unemployment and a huge public debt.