After three days of consultations with political parties failed to produce any consensus on what happens next.
After three days of consultations with political parties failed to produce any consensus on what happens next, the head of state must decide whether to ask Renzi's Democratic Party (PD) to form a new coalition government or to seek early elections.
Party statements after the talks pointed to little support for a government of national unity.
In a brief statement after the talks, Mattarella said the country urgently needed a "fully-functioning government" to be put in place quickly.
He also said that elections could not take place before a "necessary harmonisation" of the differing rules governing elections for the country's two parliamentary chambers -- suggesting some kind of caretaker government.
"Our country needs a fully functioning government quickly," the head of state said.
"We are faced with engagements, commitments and deadlines that have to be dealt with and respected. These consist of domestic, European and international engagements and deadlines."
The need for a speedy appointment of a new government has become pressing because of a looming crisis for the country's banking sector following the European Central Bank's decision to reject Rome's request for more time to organise a bailout for troubled lender Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS).