Italy's gross domestic product (GDP) rose by a higher-than-expected 2.6 percent between July and September compared to the previous quarter, official data showed Friday.
On an annual basis, GDP was up by 3.8 percent, national statistics agency Istat said in a first estimate that could be subject to later revisions.
"This brings Italy’s economy to 1.4 percent below its pre-pandemic level -- a much fuller recovery than we have seen in Spain, for example, where third quarter GDP was still trailing over 6 percent below its pre-pandemic level," economist Andrew Kenningham at Capital Economics said in a note.
Italy, the eurozone's third-largest economy, is rebounding strongly after a devastating recession in 2020, brought about by coronavirus, which saw output slump by 8.9 percent.
Istat said the economy was enjoying "very strong growth", driven in the third quarter by services, industry, exports and rising internal demand.
The agency said that on current trends, Italy is set to achieve full-year GDP growth of more than six percent in 2021 -- an estimate that tallies with other forecasts.
The government is hoping to provide added stimulus with an expansionary budget for 2021, unveiled late Thursday by Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
The 23.4-billion-euro ($27.3-billion) package includes 12 billion euros of tax cuts, more than the 8 billion euros announced last week by the government.