Fillettino, a tiny town to the east of Rome, is hoping to start its own country independent of Italy, reports the New York Times.The bold move comes after the Italian government’s austerity budget forced towns with less than 1,000 residents to merge with others in an attempt to cut costs.
Fillettino — population 598 — is hoping to become an independent state under a monarch, rather than face losing its services, and with that, its history. The town is now producing its own t-shirts, liquor (though apparently just name brands relabeled), and even its own currency (the “fiorito”).
“If that’s what it takes to keep the town autonomous and protect its natural resources,” the mayor, Luca Sellari, told the Times, adding, “it’s everyone’s dream to be a prince.”
Italy was one of the last European countries to be formed, existing until the mid-19th century as a hodge-podge of city states—much like the state that Fillentino would like to become.
However the union of the country may not be so strong in the 21st century. Earlier this month Silvio Berlusconi had to apologise for the remarks of a key ally, Umberto Bossi, who represents the separatist Northern League.
Bossi had told supporters that “the Italian system is condemned to death” and that followers should prepare for the breakaway Northern state of “Padania.”