Members of the regional assembly voted 42-18 last week for an unprecedented meeting to consider independence proposals by the Indetendenza Veneta party, following polls that suggest 80 per cent support for the plan.
Historically, the Most Serene Republic of Venice, which at one time included Crete and Cyprus, enjoyed more than 1,100 years of independence and economic strength before 1798, when it became a pawn in Napoleon’s war with Austria. It was incorporated into Italy by Garibaldi in 1866. However, unlike other Italian regions, it was never conquered militarily and still enjoys its own unique dialect.
“Without Italian rule, we would become the second richest country in Europe, behind Luxembourg,” the professor added. “Italy does very little for Venice. More than nine billion euros of the taxes we pay to Italy go to service the national debt.
“Veneto has always been in the black with Italy, so we’re paying interest to debts accumulated by the rest of the country. We are seen as the cash cow.”
A poll for the national newspaper Corriere della Serra revealed 80 per cent in favour of Veneto’s independence, and two weeks ago thousands of people marched through the streets to call for a referendum. On Wednesday, the 60 members of Veneto’s regional assembly gathered at the 17th- century Palazzo Ferro Fini, which overlooks St Mark’s Square, and voted to consider it.
“We needed 15 signatures, and ended up having 42, a resounding victory,” said the professor.
“The regional assembly recognises how much support the idea of Veneto independence is gaining.”