The Metropolitan Duchies are six Italian metropolitan areas which have traditionally been independent city-states. The Metropolitan Duchies are among the largest of Italy's cities, including the capital, Milano:
The head of state of a Metropolitan Duchy is a Metropolitan Duke (or Duchess) elected either for a fixed term (in Bologna, Genova, and Milano) or for life (in Ancona, Padova, and Torino). Their governments are nonetheless republican in every other respect, with the head of state having little power or, in the case of Ancona, none at all.
All of the Metropolitan Duchies operate under a similar governmental framework: from among the citizens is elected a city council, which makes the laws that govern the Duchy. The number of councilors varies from Duchy to Duchy, but averages around thirty. In most of the Duchies, the Metropolitan Duke also sits on the council, and may cast the deciding vote in the case of a tie. When the council passes a bill, the Duke signs it into law. However, in Ancona, the Duke only serves to officially sign the bill into law. Theoretically the Duke could reject a bill, but this has yet to happen.
The Metropolitan Duchies are among the largest cities in Italy, and have historically been independent of outside rule (except for Ancona, in which case its joining the federation was contingent on becoming a Metropolitan Duchy). The original three Duchies, Bologna, Genova, and Milano, were created for several reasons. First, it was decided that the capital should not be part of any of Italy's constituents, but rather independent, for reasons of neutrality. Then came the business of choosing a capital. In the end, the decision was narrowed down to three cities: Bologna, Genova, and Milano. Milano was chosen for its central location, but the other two were made Metropolitan Duchies as well.
Later additions Padova and Torino benefited from their economic and political situations: when Padova's economy began to boom in the early 1960s, its citizens called for Duchy-hood, which was eventually granted, to massive popular approval. Torino's situation was similar. When winter sports began to become more important to the local industry, the economy there began to grow rapidly as well, resulting in another call for Duchy-hood.
The cultures of the Metropolitan Duchies are closely tied to the nations that surround them.
The Metropolitan Duchies have been quiet of late, except that in 2006 Torino hosted the International Winter Sports Festival. The last Italian constituent to host any part of the World Games Mantua in 1979.
The Metropolitan Duchies generally speak the same languages as the nations they are located in. The Anconese speak Neapolitan, the Bolognese speak Tuscan, the Genoese speak Genoese, the Milanese speak Lombard, the Paduans speak Venetan, and the Torinese speak Piedmontese.
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