August 13, 2009

Town goes back to the ducat for one day

Residents of a small Italian town abandoned the euro for a single day, with local shops accepting only the former European currency, the ducat.

The town of Celenza Valforte allowed visitors to exchange their euros for ducats Thursday to spend in local stalls, bars and restaurants as a means of celebrating history through the currency used for hundreds of years, ANSA reported Thursday.

The town's day-long exploration of its history also included three medieval gates that had been specially reconstructed and tours spotlighting monuments and locations in the town that were important to the city's history under Spanish rule in the 1500s as well as later periods under the Austrian Empire, the French and the Bourbons.

Celenza Valforte officials also switched off the town's electricity for the day and more than 100 residents were recruited to play historical characters including lords, ladies, knights and fire-eaters.