The woman was barred from entering the bus as she was wearing a burqa, a garment which covers the entire body.

An Italian parliamentary commission approved a draft law on Tuesday which would ban women from wearing the burqa or naqib, if passed by parliament in September.

The new law would also prohibit anyone from covering their faces with a motorcycle helmet or any material of "ethnic origins", the AFP reports.

Souad Sbai, a Moroccan-born member of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's ruling People of Freedom Party (PDL) pushed for the law to be drafted.

The draft was adopted following support from the government's coalition party, the Northern League while other parliamentary groups mainly abstained from the vote.

Italy's main opposition party the Democratic Party (PD) on the other hand, voted against the draft.

Those who breached the law would be fined, with penalties ranging that could go up to 30,000 euros ($42,000) while third parties who force women to cover their faces in public could be sentenced to 12 months in jail.

Explaining her support for the law, Sbai said she hoped the legislation would defend "women without rights who are forced into segregation."

"In France, Belgium and even Muslim Azerbaijan, this law has become reality without any Arabic or Muslim women protesting, which just goes to show how much it is expected," the AFP reported her as saying.

"Five years ago, no one wore the burqa (in Italy). Today, there is always more. We have to help women get out of this segregation ... to get out of this submission," Saib also told the Telegraph.

"I want to speak for those who don't have a voice, who don't have the strength to yell and say, 'I am not doing well.'" The newspaper says she added.

The preliminary approval was welcomed by lawmaker Barbara Saltamartini, vice president of the Freedom People party caucus in the lower house.

"Final approval will put an end to the suffering of many women who are often forced to wear the burqa or niqab, which annihilates their dignity and gets in the way of integration," Saltamartini said in a statement.

However, Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights, recently said in a written statementin July that penalising women who wear the burqa does not liberate them, instead stressing that there is "very little" to show that this is the case.

"Much deeper problems of intercultural tensions and gaps have been side-tracked by the burqa and niqab discussions. Instead of encouraging this unfortunate discourse, political leaders and governments should take more resolute action against hate crimes and discrimination against minorities," Hammarberg's statement reads.

Italy is the latest European state to act against the burka and followed on the footstep of France and Belgium, which have both have banned people from wearing of burqa-style Islamic dress in public, with Belgium claiming security reasons were behind the new legislation.

The draft will next be forwarded to parliament in September, and is expected to pass as Silvio Berlusconi's governing coalition has a narrow majority.