12 million people eligible to vote in Italy's municipal elections.
Italy's four largest cities - Rome, Milan, Naples and Turin - along with Bologna, are preparing for municipal elections to elect new mayors and city councillors.
Some 12 million residents of more than 1,000 Italian towns and cities will be eligible to vote in the elections which will be held on 3-4 October.
To be elected mayor in the first round, a candidate must get more than 50 per cent of the vote, otherwise the two highest-polling candidates will head into a run-off ballot on 17-18 October.
In addition to the five big cities, there will be a parliamentary by-election in the Tuscan city of Siena, where the centre-left Partito Democratico (PD) leader Enrico Letta is seeking a seat, and a vote for the governor of the southern Calabria region following the death of former governor Jole Santelli a year ago.
In Rome the outgoing mayor Virginia Raggi
of the populist Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S) is being challenged by the lawyer and radio host Enrico Michetti
(centre-right), the former finance minister Roberto Gualtieri
of the PD (centre-left) and the Azione leader Carlo Calenda
, along with 18 other candidates.
Challenging the outgoing mayor of Milan Beppe Sala are the pediatrician Luca Bernardo (centre-right), the manager Layla Pavone (M5S) and 10 other candidates.
In Naples the PD and M5S are behind the former minister Gaetano Manfredi (centre-left) who is running against Catello Maresca (centre-right) and five other candidates.
In Turin the PD is backing Stefano Lo Russo (centre-left) while the M5S backs Valentina Sganga, with the centre-right supporting entrepreneur Paolo Damilano, in a race comprising 13 candidates.
In Bologna Matteo Lepore is the centre-left candidate, with the support of the M5S, up against entrepreneur Fabio Battistini (centre-right) and six others.
The municipal elections will be the first test of voter sentiment since the arrival of Mario Draghi
as prime minister in February, with the outcome watched keenly by Italy's main political parties.
Photo credit: Massimo Todaro / Shutterstock.com.