A province of Italy and Salt Lake County may open cultural, commercial and educational exchanges based on an agreement between leaders of the two governments.

County commissioner Mike Stewart and Giuliano Barbolini, president of the province of Modena, Italy, have signed a statement of intent that calls for ties between the two governments and international collaboration on issues facing local governing bodies.Stewart recently visited Italy with a delegation from the National Association of Counties, of which he is second vice president, as a guest of Modena businesses and the provincial government.

The Italians were interested in learning from American county officials how U.S. local governments deal with universal government problems like pollution and job creation.

While Italian provincial governments correspond to the jurisdictional level of U.S. state governments, their geographical size and populations are usually much closer to that of American counties, Stewart said.