Italy: Small town protests against merger plans
Filettino, set in rugged hill country around 15 miles east of Rome, is rebelling against a proposal to merge the governments of towns with fewer than 1,000 inhabitants to save money. Under new rules aimed at cutting local administration costs it will be forced to merge with neighbouring Trevi.
Town mayor Luca Sellari, who stands to lose his job because of the Eurozone crisis, came up with the idea. He created his own currency, called the Fiorito. Banknotes have his head on the back and they are already being used in local shops and being bought as souvenirs by tourists who have started to throng the normally quiet streets.
The mayor says there is enormous enthusiasm about declaring the independence of the new principality. There has been such an outcry by small towns across Italy at the government move to abolish local councils and merge them with larger towns that prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s coalition may be forced to backtrack.
“We aim to achieve real autonomy from Italy and we have the financial resources to do it,” Sellari said in an interview on the town’s website www.principatodifilettino.com
There was no immediate comment from the central government in Rome.
Filettino’s own bank currency, the “Fiorito”, is displayed next to a shirt with a Filettino Principality logo, on sale in Filettino, 70 km east of Rome, August 29, 2011. Photograph by: ALESSIA PIERDOMENICO, Reuters