A part of the world-wide One Billion Rising Campaign for women's rights hundreds of women danced on the Spanish Steps and near the Colosseum in Rome.
"It's moving to see women dancing, fighting and above all sharing a positive energy against violence," said Tiziana Fornari as she danced to African beats in the shadow of the Colosseum.
In Italy in 2012, 111 women were killed -- most of them at the hands of their husbands or boyfriends.
The campaign brought hundreds of thousands of women into the streets from India to the Philippines to Australia.
Men took part in the Rome protest too like Luca Cardin, 35, who has set up an Internet side to discuss gender issues.
"My generation grew up with the television channels of (former prime minister Silvio) Berlusconi and sexist advertising. On top of that in Italy there is pressure from the family and the Catholic Church," he said.
Carma, an 81-year-old also taking part in the event, said: "Some things have changed since I was young but not everywhere, not in all social classes and not in all parts of Italy."