Stranded villagers in an Italian Alpine hamlet have asked Switzerland to annex them after four years of bungling by local politicians.
The village’s gondola lift has been out of action since 2018 after a fatal cable-car accident and can only be reached through a 1,400-step mule track up the mountainside.
Now frustrated residents in Monteviasco near the town of Luino, near the eastern shore of Lake Maggiore in Lombardy, in northern Italy, have sent an open letter to Italian media begging to be taken over by efficient Switzerland.
They want the Swiss canton of Ticino – less than two kilometres (1.24 miles) away – to take them over.
The letter explained: “We would be happy to see politicians talk about restarting a means of transport that represents life for us.”
It goes on: “If pulling the border line further down would serve to avoid having to fulfil Italian bureaucratic shackles, then Switzerland is welcome.
“Annexing Monteviasco to Switzerland now seems the only way to reopen the cable car”.
The picturesque village with its winding streets and stone buildings 1,650 metres (5,413 feet) up a mountainside has been all but cut off since its cable car stopped running.
The last cable car operator died in the 2018 accident and so far no one has been found to replace them, according to both Swiss and Italian media.
And there are reportedly six tenders from the local transport authority for a new provider to step in that are still waiting for a decision from the Italian authorities.