Residents and tourists travelling around Italy are facing major disruption as a nationwide transport strike has forced the cancellation of Alitalia flights, the closure of subway stations and the suspension of bus services.

Huge queues formed at taxi ranks in Rome and Milan, where temperatures in the low 30s added to the discomfort for frustrated commuters and tourists.

Italian unions often stage strikes on Fridays in summer, fuelling outrage and contributing to even worse traffic jams than usual.

Italy’s major unions opposed the strike by a handful of smaller ones, saying it was particularly damaging for national airline Alitalia, which is searching for a buyer.

Ex-premier Matteo Renzi wrote on Facebook that unions have a right to strike but cities have a right to not be paralysed.