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Bill de Blasio victory celebrated in small Italian town with family ties

Townspeople celebrate the victory of Bill de Blasio in the New York City's mayoral election in Sant' Agata de' Goti, Italy, Nov. 6, 2013.
AP Photo

Florence, Italy Celebratory corks were popped in the southern Italian town of Sant' Agata de' Goti to toast Italian-American Bill de Blasio's landslide victory in the Big Apple's mayoral race. De Blasio's maternal grandfather hailed from the town near Naples almost a century ago, and he still has cousins there today.

Dozens of people gathered in the town's former movie theater during the night to follow the ballot counting and watch him give his victory speech. Celebrations went on until 4 a.m. local time, and were expected to continue this weekend.

"Tonight I feel the deepest appreciation for generations of my family, including those no longer with us, and a special thank you to my Italian family and friends in Rome, and in my grandfather's hometown of Sant' Agata de' Goti, and my grandmother's hometown of Grassano. To them I say: grazie a tutti!" de Blasio said in his speech.

Those present at the town's election party included mayor Carmine Valentino, who was very appreciative of de Blasio's mention of the town and his greetings in Italian after his win.

"It is evidence that he has not forgotten his roots," Valentino said. "I am proud and convinced he will do good, not only in New York but also in our region and town."

In the days before the election, red and yellow posters reading "Bill de Blasio for mayor" could be seen all over the Italian town and pasted on shop-windows. Youngsters wore t-shirts with his face printed on them.

"Bill is an exceptional person. I am convinced he is the person for such an important task, said one of his second cousins, Roberta Mongillo, who said she was told by de Blasio that she will serve as his spokesman in Sant' Agata de' Goti. The new mayor has promised to send a message to be read out to the Italian press that gathered in the town.

De Blasio last visited the small town, which has a population of 12,000, in 2010. He has said he's considered a fellow citizen, and the town council has already decided it will grant him honorary citizenship.

Filed by CBS Radio News correspondent Sabina Castelfranco