Though not as prevalent as in the past, La Cosa Nostra, better known as The Mafia, is still alive and well. This is true in the United States and in Italy. Yesterday, the Mafia showed out in Rome for the funeral of Vittorio Casamonica, a high ranking member of the Clan Casamonica outfit.
The funeral was held at the San Giovanni Bosco church, and the crime boss was bid farewell with the grandeur of a Hollywood-style home-going. While the actual funeral service was said to be traditional, the hubbub outside could be likened to a New Orleans Second Line. One banner held by a mourner read, “You conquered Rome, now you’ll conquer paradise.” Others read “King of Rome,” with a picture of Casamonica’s profile superimposed on images of The Coliseum and St. Peter’s Basilica. A gaudy horse drawn carriage, trimmed with solid gold carried the casket while a band played the theme music from “The Godfather.” At one point, a helicopter showered the march with rose petals.
The funeral outraged local politicians who saw it as boasting on the part of organized crime. Operating in the southwest region of Rome, Clan Casamonica has made capital investments in construction and real estate companies, public catering and beaches. They practice “L’Wear” or usury, which involves providing loans with astronomical interest rates of 200%-300%. Clan Casamonica is also involved in the international drug trafficking racket, supplying product in Italy as well as to various European countries, such as Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.
Mayor Ignazio Marino (of Rome) tweeted that it was “intolerable that funerals are used by the living to send mafia messages.”