Outcry as mafia boss given lavish send-off

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The body of Vittorio Casamonica, 65, was brought to the church in a horse-drawn carriage. Screengrab: La Presse
08:02 CEST+02:00
A gilded horse-drawn carriage, rose petals thrown from a helicopter and the theme tune from The Godfather. You really couldn’t make it up: this was how mourners paid their last respects to a mafia boss in Rome on Thursday, sparking outrage in a city embroiled in a mafia-linked corruption scandal.

Hundreds gathered outside San Giovanni Bosco church on the outskirts of Rome as the body of Vittorio Casamonica, 65, was brought to the church in a carriage led by six black horses.

Casamonica was a boss of the Casamonica clan, which has been accused of drug trafficking, racketeering and prostitution in Rome’s southeast, Ansa reported.

An orchestra welcomed the don to the church, which was adorned with banners saying “You have conquered Rome, now conquer heaven” and “King of Rome”, with the theme tune from the famous The Godfather film.

Watch it all unfold here:

And that’s not all. After the service, the coffin, adorned with an image of Padre Pio, left the church in a Rolls-Royce as the orchestra played the soundtrack of another famous film, 2001: Space Odyssey.

“He was a good person,” one mourner was quoted by Ansa as saying.

Needless to say, the lavish send-off sparked fury among politicians of the ruling Democratic Party and others, who demanded to know who authorized the funeral.

Democratic Party chairman Matteo Orfini tweeted: "Never again. Rome cannot be defaced by those who would like to turn it into a Godfather set".

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Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino said it was “intolerable that funerals are used by the living to send mafia messages”.

Meanwhile, the Vicariate of Rome, the local Catholic Church authority, said it was “embarrassed”.

But parish priest, the Reverend Giancarlo Manieri, told Ansa he had no control over what happened outside the church and that inside the funeral was celebrated normally.

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