Italians are going to the polls in local elections that are seen as an earlytest of the rule of new Prime Minister Romano Prodi.
Observers say the two-day ballot is also the first chance for former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to seek revenge after being narrowly defeated in last month’s general election.
The polls are taking place in four cities, including Rome and Milan. There isalso a one-day election for governor in Sicily.
Rome’s popular centre-left mayor Walter Veltroni is considered to be favourite for re-election. He voted from a hospital room where he is being treated for an infection.
His main rival is the former agricultural minister Gianni Alemanno, a member of the conservative National Alliance.
In Sicily, the centre left candidate is Rita Borsellino, the sister of the anti-mafia judge Paolo Borsellino, who was killed by the mafia in 1992.
Polls close on Monday afternoon, with results expected later in the evening.