Italians have been left shocked by two cases of men setting themselves on fire in the past two days in protest at their financial hardship.

One of the men, a 58-year-old builder who was accused of tax evasion, set himself alight in his car in Bologna on Wednesday. It is believed he left a suicide note to the tax agency protesting his innocence.

The other man a 27 year old Moroccan, also a builder, set himself on fire with fuel in a canister, outside the town hall in Verona on Thursday. Saying that he had not been paid for four months and was crushed by the economic crisis.

Both men are being treated in hospital.