The city of Venice, Italy voted in an unrecognized referendum to break away from Italy, after nearly two million people from the municipality voted online. While the vote is largely symbolic as it is not recognized by either Rome or regional authorities, the municipality has seen a resurgence of nationalism. Making up nearly nine percent of Italy’s GDB, the region feels its contributions to Italy outweigh the benefit. Historically too, Venice existed for 1,100 years as an independent city state until Napoleon’s conquest in 1797.
A recent rise of separatist movements has taken place in Scotland, Crimea, and now Venice. And, as one professor said to CNBC, “Although history never repeats itself, we are now experiencing a strong return of little nations, small and prosperous countries, able to interact among each other in the global world.”
It is also one of the first times a vote was conducted online in Italy. Using a unique voter number, the region was able to quickly answer the question online using their computers or smartphones. This contributed to the record-high “turn-out” of 2.3 million people who voted overwhelmingly to separate with 89% voting for independence. It is not the first time that Venice has seen a rise in nationalism, but the high level of support may have some in Rome worried.