Northern League demands freedom from Rome's rain

Italy's federalist and powerful Northern League, not content with demands for more local political autonomy, now wants freedom from the tyranny of national weather forecasts.

The former minister and incumbent Northern League governor of Veneto, Luca Zaia, has declared that inaccurate, catch-all weather forecasts from Rome are wrecking the tourist industry in the north of the country.

"The people who make weather predictions on television and point their fingers at Veneto [the region surrounding Venice], should think hard before saying that it's going to rain," Mr Zaia, told a meeting near Verona this week – ironically, in the rain, in one of the wettest years anyone can remember.

"The meteorologists who think there's no difference between Trieste, Chioggia, Verona and Trento do incalculable damage to tourism."

He said that "millions" of visitors from other parts of Italy, who might flock to the North to see places such as the Alps, the lakes or Venice, were being discouraged by bogus talk of foul weather.

The statistics also dispel the myth that it's only the British who show a keen interest in the weather. A recent poll found that 63 per cent of Italians consult a forecast at least once a day.

Mr Zaia is not the first to complain loudly about inaccurate northern weather forecasts. In 2004, the north-west coastal region of Liguria made an official complaint to the state broadcaster Rai, based in Rome, after erroneous predictions before Easter.