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Venice votes in favor of independence

Michel Setboun | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Italians in Venice and the surrounding region have voted in favor of breaking away from Italy, albeit in a referendum not recognized by Rome or regional authorities.

AFP said two million people voted in the week-long online poll, with 89 percent backing independence from Italy.

(Read more: Crimea, Scotland..now Venice votes on breakaway)

The agency said the result was announced in Padua to a couple of hundred pro-independence campaigners who cheered and waved Venetian republic flags.

Paolo Bernardini, professor of European history at the University of Insubria in Como, Italy, has been campaigning for an independent Venice since 2007. He told CNBC earlier this week the city was free for around 1,100 years—before losing its independence to Napoleon in 1797—and it was "high time" for it to become an autonomous state once again.

"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," he told CNBC.

The Veneto region, which includes Venice, makes up over 9 percent of Italy's gross domestic product (GDP).

—By CNBC staff.

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