The final straw for Paris was a secret French trip on Tuesday by Mr Di Maio, leader of the Five Star Movement and deputy prime minister, to meet Christophe Chalençon, a yellow vest activist who wants the army to overthrow Mr Macron.
It said Italy's attacks were without precedent since World War II.
That prompted France to summon Italy's ambassador in protest. "They are very anxious because Salvini is at about 35 or 36 percent and they're going down to about 26-27 percent", Conte said to the chancellor, pointing out that Di Maio could not campaign on immigration as Salvini had that ground covered. Neither leader likes the pro-European Emmanuel Macron.
The two countries have periodically argued about commercial issues including shipbuilder Fincantieri's proposed takeover of France's STX and a past Italian government's contention that landline assets constitute a strategic asset.
Di Maio and Salvini, who formed a populist coalition government together past year, have repeatedly criticised French President Emmanuel Macron, who has, in turn, targeted their "eurosceptic actions" before high-stakes European Parliament elections in May.
"So they say what are the issues that can help us during the campaign".
"For several months, France has been the subject of repeated accusations, unfounded attacks and outrageous declarations", she added.
The statement continued: "Having disagreements is one thing, but manipulating the relationship for electoral aims is another".
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During a visit to Egypt last month, Macron sought to shrug off the sparring, calling Salvini and Di Maio's comments "insignificant" and adding that he dealt only with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
Italy's elections last March swept away a center-left government whose prime minister was close to Macron, replacing it with an awkward coalition of Di Maio's eclectic Five Star and the anti-immigration League.
"To me that meeting was not a provocation against the current French government, but instead an important meeting with a political force with whom we share quite a lot, including the need for direct democracy to give more power to citizens", Di Maio wrote on Facebook.
The French foreign ministry branded the meeting an "unacceptable" provocation, saying: "This new provocation is not acceptable between neighbouring countries and European Union partners".
Di Maio called for the same rules to apply to France, warning Paris could be sanctioned, after Macron was forced to make costly concessions to quell the Yellow Vest violence.
"The wind of change has crossed the Alps", Mr Di Maio tweeted (in Italian).
The yellow vest movement is directly challenging the French government following weeks of street protests against what it sees as the unfair treatment of the rural working class.