But yesterday's poll failed to produce a clear victor, since none of the parties or coalitions won enough votes to govern alone.
He said he would not step down until a government is formed, and that in the meantime his party would shun the coalition talks which will be necessary as no party or alliance got enough votes for a working majority.
Earlier on Monday, Asian markets fell again as the fallout from Trump's proposed steel and aluminium tariffs fanned fears of a global trade conflict.
"Ungovernable Italy" headlined one daily newspaper as the results rolled in.
Preliminary results released by Italy's interior ministry show the center-right coalition winning about 37 percent of the parliamentary vote and the 5-Star Movement getting about 31 percent, with the center-left coalition far behind with 23 percent. Now the country's largest single party, with a startling 32 percent, its leader was until recently calling for a referendum on Italy's membership in the Eurozone.
Foreign media on Monday focused on the inconclusive result of Sunday's elections in Italy and the success of the populist and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) and right-wing and eurosceptic League, which overtook Silvio Berlusconi'sForza Italia as the biggest force on the centre right. The coalition includes Berlusconi's Forza Italia (Go Italy!) party, Matteo Salvini's League party and Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy.
On Monday, Salvini said the centre-right would seek to govern, claiming leadership of the bloc that Silvio Berlusconi has steered since 1994.
The 5-Star once rejected talk of any power sharing, but now says it is willing to discuss common policies but not negotiate over cabinet posts.
Echoing this view, Jonathan Fletcher, head of European equities at Brooks MacDonald, said M5S's strong performance had once again led to the re-emergence and impact of populist politics.
In L'Espresso weekly's online edition Marco Damilano wrote: "On the night of March 4, the winners are (Five Star Movement leader Luigi) Di Maio and Salvini".
"The fact that we are representative of the entire nation projects us inevitably toward the government of the country", Di Maio said at a news conference in which he took no questions.
"The vote has radically transformed Italy's political landscape and its repercussions will be long-lasting", said political analyst Wolfango Piccoli.
MATTEO Renzi has resigned as head of Italy's Democratic Party following his humiliating defeat during the national elections. "Be prepared for long and complex negotiations", said Lorenzo Codogno, a former chief economist at the Italian Treasury.
"The team is the centre-right coalition", he said, adding that he would not form "minestrone soup" government, made up of different ingredients. The process, brokered by Italian president Sergio Mattarella, might take weeks.
BBC Europe editor Katya Adler said that the results could be a nightmare come true for the European Union: "a coalition between the "populist Eurosceptics": Five Star and Lega [the League party]".
"Keeping these promises would send the budget deficit over the 3 per cent limit", said Nobile, referring to the European Union budget rules that govern the single currency.
As the final numbers are tallied, it is already clear that the typical balance between traditional parties and anti-establishment forces has been turned upside down: The once dominant center-left and center-right parties now share a combined one-third minority.
The 81-year-old left his office in disgrace in 2011 amid the country's debt crisis and accusations that he slept with an underage prostitute at one of his debauched "bunga bunga" parties.