The Italian Almanac

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a view of Bergolo

Italian News - May 24

There are only 63 people in the medieval village of Bergolo eligible to vote in Italy's local elections on Sunday. But they will not be stuck for choice at the ballot box: 40 candidates are running for office.

The village, which nestles in the rolling hills of Piedmont, has the dubious distinction of having more aspiring politicians per person than anywhere else in Italy. The candidates, whose ages range from 26 to 71, are running for mayor and for nine seats on the village's council.

Before a change in the electoral law in the 1990s, candidates had to gather at least 20 signatures to run, but now they merely have to declare themselves at the town hall. Many candidates only have a second home in Bergolo.

Opinion is divided over why so many people are thirsting for power. But whatever the result in Bergolo the village will not be touched by the same acrimony that swept much of Italy after last month's general election. "At the end of the day, we all sit down for dinner together," said the outgoing mayor, Marco Saredi.