The Mayor of St Albans strengthened relations with an Italian twin city by taking part in an annual colourful carnival.

Mohammad Iqbal Zia was invited to join the Mayor of Fano among the crowds of 60,000 to watch around 20 floats navigate their way through the historic streets of the city that lies on the Adriatic coast.

The two cities twinned in 1998 and share a Roman heritage, as Fano was established by Julius Caesar in 49BC.

During the visit the two Mayors discussed new projects, initiatives and recycling schemes.

Mayor Iqbal Zia said: “It was a wonderful experience leading the carnival alongside the Mayor of Fano and other dignitaries. There was a fantastic atmosphere with a crowd of 60,000 turning out to watch the parade of floats.

“This visit has helped cement the ties between St Albans’ and the twin city of Fano. It provided a great opportunity to promote St Albans as a place to visit with its Roman heritage, Cathedral and wonderful leisure facilities.

“The Mayor of Fano and I spoke about how to make the most of our cities’ cultural and historic attractions. We also talked about our recycling schemes and local initiatives like St Albans City and District Council’s drive to improve cultural and leisure facilities.

“The Mayor of Fano was interested to hear about the new museum and art gallery, as well as the high performance tennis centre at Batchwood Sports Centre. In turn, I was keen to find out more about Fano’s successful recycling scheme. Needless to say we both learned a great deal in the process.”