Voting begins Sunday on a referendum on whether Venice and its surrounding region should secede from the rest of Italy, in an attempt to restore its 1,000-year history as a sovereign republic.
La Serenissima — or the Most Serene Republic of Venice — was an independent trading power for a millennium before its last leader was deposed by Napoleon in 1797. The republic encompassed not just Venice but what is now the surrounding region of Veneto and it is there that the vote will take place from tomorrow until Friday.
They acknowledge that the vote is not binding on the national government in Rome and could cause a big constitutional upheaval, but insist that if it passes, they will start taking steps to withhold taxes, in what would effectively be a unilateral declaration of independence.
“If there is a majority yes vote, we have scholars drawing up a declaration of independence and there are businesses in the region who say they will begin paying taxes to local authorities instead of to Rome,” Lodovico Pizzati, the spokesman for the independence movement, told The Daily Telegraph.