Growing up near the northern Italian city of Ferrara, A boy began an act of teenage rebellion in the 90s that surprised his friends: he decided not to become a communist.

As a 19-year-old student, he joined the far-right northern Italian separatist party, the Northern League, breaking not only with the political currents of his still left-wing region of Emilia-Romagna, but also with the traditions of his own family, some of whom were supporters against Nazi Germany fought. eu.

Last year he ran as a candidate for the now renamed league for the office of mayor of Ferrara and won. The result stunned observers from all over Italy. A city that has been controlled by the Italian left since the end of Benito Mussolini's fascist regime - and by the Italian Communist Party for most of those 73 years - was a victim of Matteo Salvini's Italian anti-immigrant nationalist movement.

"I received my first league membership card when I was 19 years old. I was a black sheep," the 41-year-old man with a beard and ponytail recalls from his office near Estense Castle in Ferrara the 14th. "She were maternal communists, one of my grandfathers was illiterate, but he still had a copy of L'Unità on the table - the communist newspaper founded in the 20s by Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci.

"Many here thought that family traditions would never allow voting for a right-wing party, but that has changed. Many ex-communists now choose the league if we stand up for the workers. They had already won, and so did they were shocked.

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