Thousands of die-hard League voters from all over northern Italy are gathering in a town in the foothills of Lombardy as Matteo Salvini relaunches himself as opposition leader after a grave political miscalculation landed the party out of government.
Backers wearing “Salvini Forever” scarves or “Salvini Premier” T-Shirts streamed into a meadow in the town of Pontida, near Bergamo, for the annual League rally.
The town inspires nationalists as the birthplace of a medieval alliance that defeated a foreign emperor.
Mr Salvini is seeking to whip up his base in opposition to the 5-Star-Democratic Party government that took office last week, depriving him of his position as Italy’s hardline anti-migrant interior minister.
A survey published on Sunday in the financial daily il Sole-24 Ore shows that despite Mr Salvini’s political missteps, the League remains the strongest party in Italy with 34% support.