Inspired by Scotland’s separatist ambitions, 89 per cent of the residents of the lagoon city and its surrounding area, opted to break away from Italy in an unofficial ballot.
The proposed ‘Repubblica Veneta’ would include the five million inhabitants of the Veneto region and could later expand to include parts of Lombardy, Trentino and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
The floating city has only been part of Italy for 150 years. The 1000 year–old democratic Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia, was quashed by Napoleon and was subsumed into Italy in 1866.
Wealthy Venetians, under mounting financial pressure in the economic crisis, have rallied in their thousands, after growing tired of supporting Italy’s poor and crime ridden Mezzogiorno south, through high taxation.
Activists have been working closely with the SNP on their joint agendas, even travelling to Scotland alongside Catalonians and Basque separatists to take part in pro independence rallies.
Campaigners say that the Rome government receives around 71 billion euros each year in tax from Venice - some 21 billion euros less than it gets back in investment and services.
Organisers said that 2.36million, 73 per cent, of those eligible to take part voted in the poll, which is not recognised by the Rome government.
The ballot also appointed a committee of ten who immediately declared independence from Italy. Venice may now start withholding taxes from Rome.