Italians are voting in an important round of local elections on Sunday, along with a referendum on reforms to five existing laws.
Polling started at 7 a.m. local time (0500GMT) and will continue until 11 p.m. (2100GMT).
Around 8.8 million people are eligible to elect the local leadership of 971 municipalities and some major cities including Genoa, Palermo, Messina, Parma, Taranto, Verona, and La Spezia.
According to local media, turnout for the vote – seen by observers as a key gauge of public opinion ahead of next year’s general elections – was around 17.43% by midday.
Around 51.5 million will take part in the referendum on legal reforms.
The five reforms each propose revoking an existing law or rule in Italy.
Right-wing parties mostly campaigned in favor of repealing the laws, while Italy’s left-wing forces have called for maintaining the status quo.
However, more than 50% of voters would have to choose one of the two options for the result to be valid.
As of midday, less than 6% of votes had been recorded for each of the five regulations, local media reported.