News / Europe

    Euro Crisis Prompts Italian Village to Declare Independence

    A general view of Filettino, Italy, a small town 70 km east of Rome that is trying to go independent and mint its own money in protest against government austerity cuts, August 2011. (file photo)
    A general view of Filettino, Italy, a small town 70 km east of Rome that is trying to go independent and mint its own money in protest against government austerity cuts, August 2011. (file photo)
    Henry Ridgwell

    Italy's tough austerity drive includes plans to force local authorities to merge, in a bid to rein in public spending. The tiny village of Filettino faces such a prospect - but its mayor is fighting back. The town is bidding to become an autonomous principality with its own currency. And it might just stand a chance.

    Deep in the rugged mountains east of Rome lies the quiet village of Filettino.

    Not much has changed here for centuries. But the 554 residents are now part of a revolution in the making; Filettino is trying to break away from Italy.

    Under the government’s tough $67-billion [50 billion euro] austerity package, all towns with fewer than 1,000 residents are being forced to merge with neighboring communities.

    That would see Filettino’s Mayor Luca Sellari out of a job. So he’s leading the fight back.

    “We want to manage our resources independently. This town is rich in natural resources and this could provide great economic opportunities. We have about 8,000 hectares of land, and forests that we could cut, but the state doesn’t allow us to do it,” he added. “We have water resources, but these are managed by a company in Rome, and we don’t receive any money."

    Filettino has even started printing its own currency, the Fiorito - complete with a picture of Mayor Sellari.

    Mayor Luca Sellari displays Filettino's own bank currency - the 'Fiorito' - at his office in Filettino, Italy, August 2011.
    Mayor Luca Sellari displays Filettino's own bank currency - the 'Fiorito' - at his office in Filettino, Italy, August 2011.

    The village's few shops stock T-shirts bearing the new Filettino coat of arms. For now, they are just souvenirs. Sellari insists, though, there is legal precedent.

    Before unification in the 19th century, Italy was made up of dozens of principalities and kingdoms. Some, like San Marino, still survive.

    “We were the first ones to protest, maybe the ones who protested loudest - and the government stepped back. At the moment the town is not merged with the neighboring village, but still, the government is forcing us to unify our services. That would force our costs up, so I hope [Prime Minister] Monti’s new government will propose a reasonable solution to this,” said Sellari.

    Rosa Maria Giulitti helps run Filettino’s main restaurant, La Galleria. She remains skeptical of the mayor’s plans.

    “We don’t want to be independent from Italy, we don’t want to be out. We just want to manage our own resources, which we don’t want to concede to anyone else,” said Giulitti.

    Giulitti’s mother takes over the cooking - insisting that the local cattle produce the tastiest steak in the world. "This is the local blood of the principality!" she declares.

    Filettino’s people are clearly proud of their culture and their village.

    Across Italy, around 2000 villages face losing their mayors. Many of them will be watching carefully whether Mayor Sellari can one day call himself the Prince of Filettino.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora