Far-right leader Giorgia Meloni has been sworn in as Italian prime minister, to become the first woman to head a government in Italy.

Ms Meloni took the oath before President Sergio Mattarella at the Quirinal Palace in Rome, once home to popes and kings of Italy.

Her post-fascist Brothers of Italy party -- Eurosceptic and anti-immigration -- won the 25 September legislative polls but needed outside support to form a government.

Ms Meloni's appointment is an historic event for the eurozone's third largest economy and for Brothers of Italy, which has never been in government.

It won 26% of the vote last month, compared to 8% and 9% respectively for her allies Forza Italia and the far-right League.

Ms Meloni's list of 24 ministers, including six women, revealed a desire to reassure Italy's partners.

She named Giancarlo Giorgetti as economy minister, who served under the previous government of Mario Draghi.

Mr Giorgetti, a former minister of economic development, is considered one of the more moderate, pro-Europe members of Matteo Salvini's League.

Ms Meloni also named ex-European Parliament president Antonio Tajani, of Forza Italia, as foreign minister and deputy prime minister.

Mr Salvini will serve as deputy prime minister and minister of infrastructure and transport.

That appointment is likely to disappoint Mr Salvini, who wanted Meloni to give him the role of interior minister again after he previously held the post between 2018 and 2019.

The position went instead to a technocrat, Rome prefect Matteo Piantedosi.

A group photo of the 24 ministers of the government with Giorgia Meloni

A formal ceremony for the handover of power from Mr Draghi to Ms Meloni will take place tomorrow before the premier leads the first cabinet meeting.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen congratulated Ms Meloni on her appointment.

"I count on and look forward to constructive cooperation with the new government on the challenges we face together," she tweeted, while European Parliament speaker Roberta Metsola tweeted in Italian that "Europe needs Italy".

US President Joe Biden congratulated Ms Meloni and called Italy a "vital NATO ally and close partner."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted that he looked "forward to continued fruitful cooperation to ensure peace and prosperity in Ukraine, Italy and the world".

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban also sent his congratulations on Twitter. "Big day for the European Right!" he wrote.