Italy's Carabinieri officers march during a Republic Day military parade in Rome. File picture: Tony Gentile/Reuters

Rome - An Italian Carabinieri police officer was sentenced to four years and eight months' imprisonment on Thursday for the rape of two US students in Florence last year.

Officer Marco Camuffo was one of two officers who picked up two university exchange students outside a nightclub and gave them a lift home in September 2017. The women later reported they were sexually assaulted inside their flat.

Camuffo had been sentenced in a fast-track trial, a form of trial in Italy that allows for more lenient sentencing, the ANSA news agency reported.

The prosecution had asked for a jail term of five years and eight months, ANSA added.

It was not immediately clear if Camuffo would go to prison straight away or only after all appeals proceedings are exhausted, which can take years.

A second Carabinieri policeman accused of taking part the rape, Pietro Costa, opted to have a regular trial, which is due to start on May 10, ANSA reported.

The Carabinieri have expelled the two officers from their ranks. In court on Thursday, Camuffo admitted to having sex with with one of the students, but insisted it was consensual.