British supermarket operator Morrison also advanced 4.5 percent as investors welcomed the departure of chief executive Dalton Philips, who had presided over weak Christmas trading figures.
State-controlled French electricity and power group EDF rose 5 percent on French plans for new nuclear reactors, but the European oil and gas sector underperformed bigger gains elsewhere as oil prices hovered near six-year lows.
Traders said the low oil price would help retailers as theoretically it would give consumers more money to spend.
“Italy is still in a phase of a very fragile economic recovery and the new president will have to play a key role to sustain the current coalition,” said Carlo Alberto de Casa, senior analyst at ActivTrades.
The leftist Syriza party, which has said it will cancel austerity imposed under Greece’s 240 billion euro ($283.3 billion) bailout and renegotiate some debts, leads in the polls, but some traders feel Greece will stay in the euro zone.
Rupert Welchman, European equities fund manager at Union Bancaire Privee, said that while he had reduced his holding of Greek shares, he did not want to be completely out of the Greek market in case it rallied after the election.
“During this long-running European crisis, we have been led to fear extreme outcomes time and again, and then the eventual outcome has been one of compromise,” said Welchman.