Many Italians chose to keep their houses unlit from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday in the Earth Hour relay, a global energy-saving campaign organized by the World Wildlife Fund.
Across Italy, many symbolic monuments stood in total darkness for the hour, such as the Rialto Bridge in Venice, the Tower of Pisa and the arena of Verona. More than 100 towns took part in the event, making Italy the sixth country in the world with most participating cities.
In Rome, people's enthusiasm for the initiative was particularly high as darkness dominated the household windows lining many streets of this historic city.
Francesco Totti, Italian world soccer champion and AS Roma team captain, turned off the light of Colosseum, symbol of Rome, to gesture the city's support for battle against global warming.
In front of the Colosseum, tourists and citizens admired in darkness the spectacular stone monument.
"This is amazing," said Rachel White, a British student living in Rome. "It's a symbolic gesture and it contributes to the international campaign against climate change."
Remo Petrilli, a 62-year-old pensioner, said the move would call people's attention to better habits in energy consumption.
"One single citizen can do a lot on his own. If only one million Italians switched off their lights an hour each day, our country would be heavily contributing to the fight against climate change," he added.
A couple were waving a poster in front of the darkened Colosseum calling for a rapid solution to deteriorating global environment.
"Earth Hour is a good initiative to stimulate social awareness of environmental issues," said Paola Corradi, a teacher of French language.
"One hour less of light means one hour less of electricity consumption. Italians are big energy consumers. This is why Earth Hour is a great contribution to global energy-saving," she added.
"It should occur once a week or at least once a month so people get into the logic of it," she said.
Regarding environmental policies, Corradi said "there should be less talking and more action. The Italians tend to worry only about their own backyard, and they have little civic conscience. Schools and families don't teach children to respect the environment. I'm trying to make my pupils aware of the issue."
"Earth Hour sets a good example of balanced energy consumption habits," said her husband Mario, a computer seller.
"Each single individual can reduce global warming with small daily contributions, such as switching off printers and heaters," he said.
Ian Pearson, a 55-year-old British teacher, lives in an attic with a spectacular view of St. Peter's Basilica. "When the city turns off its lights you really get an idea of what progress and civilization are, but you also understand the harm and damage all these have inflicted on the planet," he said.
Some Young people have different opinions. Giovanni Longo, a 23-year-old bartender, doesn't seem to understand the need for the Earth Hour.
"If you switch off the Colosseum's lights, you switch off the (light of) entire city of Rome," he said. "I doubt many people tonight have turned off their lights, Italy is playing against Montenegro for the European World Cup qualifications."
"It's Saturday night, I'm going out clubbing with my friends and seeing the city half-lit is quite depressing," explained 29-year-old restaurant owner Alessandra Spinelli.
The Earth Hour, which started in 2007, provides an opportunity for people in the world to voice their views on the need to address global warming.
The event is unique for Italy as the country will host the summit of the Group of Eight (G8) richest nations in July and people's enthusiasm will send a strong message for their leaders.