Could Venice become a sovereign state for the first time in more than 200 years? That's what voters are considering in a non-binding referendum on Venetian independence, the BBC reports. Venice's online vote, which continues all week, raises the possibility of separating from Italy and becoming the Republic of Veneto. Polls suggest about two-thirds of Venetians back the idea. About half the region's 4 million people are expected to vote, but Italian media has taken little notice.
"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," a leading activist tells the Telegraph. Asked whether Italy's constitution would bar secession, the regional governor pointed to international law, which he said provides for "the right to self-determination." Venice and its surrounding area, Veneto, comprised a sovereign state for 1,000 years, until Napoleon overthrew its leader in 1797, the Telegraph notes. Independence, it seems, is in the air today.