Italy’s interior minister and deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini: those who knew him believed he was a true ideologue. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

In the early years, when he was still a secessionist who believed northern Italy should break off and become an independent state called Padania, Matt(...)

Northern League leader Matteo Salvini: Could end up in a position of power, either as interior minister or even prime minister – a scenario that could disturb investors and EU policymakers. Photograph: Riccardo Antimiani/EPA

Just after the start of one of his final campaign rallies this week, Matteo Salvini lunged into the kind of provocative anti-Muslim pitch to voters th(...)

Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni: said Italy was “back on track” after the worst economic crisis in the postwar period. Photograph: Max Rossi/Reuters

Italy’s president Sergio Mattarella on Thursday dissolved parliament ahead of an election which is expected to produce a period of instability in the (...)

President of Lombardy Roberto Maroni arrives to cast his electronic vote for Lombardy’s autonomy referendum at a polling station in Lozza near Varese, northern Italy, on Sunday. Photograph: Alessandro Garofalo/Reuters

Two wealthy regions of northern Italy voted overwhelmingly on Sunday for greater autonomy in referendums that could fan regional tensions in Europe at(...)