Fascinating piece of democratic history by Alessio Bini:
(look for Vellano in the province of Pistoia)
“In the Middle Ages, in the north of Tuscany, the little towns were organized like a little state. There was no feudal lord: no boss, no emperor, no king that controlled the people.
The little countries had ramparts and each one was denominated “castellum”, “castella” for the plural.
In particular, we have the statute of the little state Avellano, that in the 1367 obtained the freedom of Republic of Florence, freedom that in the fact was in the Avellano people life since ancient ages.
To administrating the everyday life there was two important authority: the Parliament and the Council.
The Parliament was composed by every head of household, older than 20 years.
The Council was composed by 18 men considered “good and wise”.
This authority decided by 2/3 of the members, included the absentees.