An ancient gated extension of the city where left-leaning Italians once fought against Mussolini and Hitler has now become a breeding ground for right-wing populism.
Sunday’s result could leave Italians without a clear winner, complicating the country’s already uncertain political future.
Up to 470 Italian troops will be deployed in Niger to combat migration and the trafficking of people towards Europe, many of whom wash up on Italian shores.
A parliamentary election set for March 4 may bring a new era of uncertainty to the country as it is expected to produce a hung parliament.
Italy's former pm Berlusconi appealed to the Strasbourg court in 2013 following his conviction for tax fraud and ban on running for office.
Both a centre-right coalition backed by former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi and the populist 5-Star Movement claimed momentum going into a national election next year following the results of Sicily's regional vote.
Exit polls have shown the Sicily election will be a key indicator for Italy's general election. The vote is a neck-and-neck race between the centre-right and the populists.
Exit polls will be issued when voting ends at 10 pm (2100 GMT), but the actual vote count will not begin until Monday at 8 am.
Four-time Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's lawyer says the speculation about his client's involvement in the 1993 bombings, which killed 10 people, is politically motivated.
The polls pose a powerful threat to Rome, even if they don't mean independence. The regions of Lombardy and Veneto will ask citizens to vote for greater autonomy and tax sharing.
Italy's 81-year-old centre-right politician Silvio Berlusconi said he wants to lead his Forza Italia (Go Italy) party in next year's election.
Poll says idea of "ius soli" or rights linked to the land where you are born is losing support among Italians, a drop from 41 percent in October last year to 32.3 percent now, even though such a path to citizenship exists in many other EU countries
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