Questions are bring asked about why a lavish funeral for a purported Italian crime boss was allowed through the streets of Rome.
The coffin of Vittorio Casamonica, 65, was paraded in a gothic horse-drawn carriage on Thursday afternoon as hundreds of mourners turned out to pay their respects at the San Giovanni Bosco church on the outskirts of the city.
A brass band played music from 'The Godfather' movie as a helicopter showered the mourners with red rose petals.
"This is our religion," said Casamonica's nephew Marco Spinel. "This is how we organise our funerals."
After the service, the coffin was taken from the church in a Rolls-Royce and the band played the soundtrack of another famous film, '2001: A Space Odyssey'.
Police deny knowledge of funeral
Outraged anti-Mafia campaigners are now demanding that the Catholic Church and Rome's police chiefs explain how and why the city honoured a notorious mob boss with a Hollywood-style funeral.
Rome's police chief, Franco Gabrielli, admitted yesterday that the glitzy funeral of a Mafia boss was "a serious matter", but denied that police officials had known about plans for the event.
"It shouldn't have happened. But it did happen," Mr Gabrielli said. "The security apparatus failed to recognise the signs of what was about to happen, and that was down to us," he added.
Campaigners noted that the dead man was no hero but a prominent member of the Casamonica clan. The clan is mired in drug trafficking, racketeering and prostitution in the southeast of the capital, reports The Independent.