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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 October 2007, 23:46 GMT
Italian ski resort wants to move
By Mark Duff
BBC News, Milan

Cortina d'Ampezzo
Veneto regional officials do not want Cortina to join Alto Adige
The residents of Italy's most exclusive ski resort, Cortina d'Ampezzo, have voted to change regions amid a debate over local identity - and local taxes.

Known as the "pearl of the Dolomites", Cortina is gorgeous, glamorous and glitzy. It is favoured by Sting, George Clooney and minor European royalty.

But it is not happy with its place in the world - or, more precisely, in Italy, where it is part of Veneto.

Many residents want to join nearby and mostly autonomous Trentino-Alto Adige.

Government resisting

Cortina's neighbours across the mountains in Alto Adige enjoy a greater degree of administrative independence, as well as more generous state subsidies and lower taxes than most other Italian regions, including Veneto.

But there are also cultural issues.

The move is being promoted by a small ethnic community that speaks an ancient Romance language also spoken across the border in Alto Adige.

Results from a referendum held on Sunday and Monday show an overwhelming majority of Cortina's residents back the change.

The vote clears the way for the start of procedures that could one day see Cortina become part of Alto Adige.

But that will not happen any time soon. Leaders of the Veneto regional government have made it quite clear they are determined not to let Cortina break free.

Country profile: Italy
08 Aug 07 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Italy
08 Aug 07 |  Country profiles

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