It’s like being in a Hollywood movie or in a Dan Brown’s book in which the past comes back to haunt the present.
From IX to XVIII century, the Most Serene Republic of Venice (the “Serenissima”) was an independent Italian State. Initially just a village of pile-dwellings to escape barbaric invasions, then a maritime and colonial superpower, then again an Italian middle Power, before being finally vanquished by Napoleon’s armies.
Today the Venetian flag is the official flag of the Veneto Region, and you can find the main symbols of the Republic in the seal of the Municipality of Venice. But that was all. A bloodless pro-independence armed occupation of the San Marco tower in 1997 remained an isolated act, with the commando members quickly arrested and tried.
The crisis changed all this, giving to the historical nostalgia a much more pragmatic character. Since the former territories of the Republic in North-Eastern Italy are much richer and more productive than the rest of the country, the supporters of independence are promising a Switzerland-like economic Eden, achieving better results than in the past.
The cause of independence was endorsed by the Northern League party, and more recently by the Five Stars Movement. Some sympathetic MEP presented interrogations to the European Commissions, getting vague answers. The Regional Parliament is debating a Bill to hold a popular referendum on independence after ordering a Committee of legal expert to consider the international law and constitutional law issues raised by the proposal. In the meantime, an online referendum organized by a Committee will be held between 16 and 21 March.