Could a Crawley man become an Italian prince?
Mark Dezzani, 55, is standing for election for the next Prince of Seborga, a small town in the region of Liguria in northwest Italy.
The former St Wilfrid’s student has made it to the last two finalists and will find out if he has claimed the title on April 23.
About 150 people have registered to vote.
The 55-year-old will go head to head with the current ruler of the small territory, His Tremendousness Marcello I, a businessman and speedboat champion.
If Mark wins the honour, he will take the title of ‘His Temendousness’.
He said: “I love this place. It is in a very beautiful setting, a fascinating and unique history and a wonderful community that have inspired me in good times and supported me in difficult times. So it is an honour to be a candidate for the title.
“It is surreal to be one of the two final candidates selected for election by the people of Seborga and it does carry a responsibility to represent this marvellous place, but also I intend to help bring some fun back to Seborga in these divisive and economically difficult times.
“Seborga, like many other hilltop towns along the coast of Liguria in Italy faces economic problems and depopulation, but thanks to it’s unique history as an independent principality, I believe that I can give back to the village and with my communication skills as a broadcaster and journalist, help to raise the profile of Seborga to promote tourism.”
Mark, who was born in Crawley and lived in Furnace Green, left for the idyllic hilltop village overlooking the Italian Riviera in 1982.
He went to work for Radio Nova International, an English language radio station broadcasting from Seborga to the Cote d’Azur and South of France.
He currently runs a weekly show on the former offshore pirate radio station Radio Caroline every Tuesday and freelances at Riviera Radio in Monaco.
He went to St Wilfrid’s Catholic Comprehensive School where he was head boy.
He has plans, if he gets the title.
He said: “Marcello is proposing to build a five star hotel on the hillside overlooking the village. I am opposed to the project as it would ruin the natural beauty of the countryside around Seborga.
“My point of view is that Seborga is not Monaco. We were ruled by monks and were a poor principality.
“I am very much for expanding tourism, I just believe that a five star hotel is not viable or suitable. We have plenty of excellent B&Bs that need filling up year round.
“The project in my opinion is just exploitative speculation.”
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