Giorgio Napolitano, funeral in the Chamber today

Among those present in the Chamber Meloni, Mattarella, Macron and Steinmeier. Government benches full

Last farewell in a secular form and state funeral for the president emeritus Giorgio Napolitano, who died last Friday at the age of 98, today Tuesday 26 September in Montecitorio. The funeral is broadcast live on Rai 1 and a large screen has been set up in front of the Colonna Palace Hotel in Piazza Montecitorio.

The government benches are full. One by one, the ministers took their places among the seats. The first was Matteo Salvini, then the other deputy prime minister Antonio Tajani and gradually his colleagues Guido Crosetto, Francesco Lollobrigida, Matteo Piantedosi, Carlo Nordio, Adolfo Urso, Gilberto Pichetto-Fratin, Lucà Ciriani, Anna Maria Bernini, Raffaele Fitto, Giancarlo Giorgetti and all the others. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, meanwhile, is in Montecitorio.

The queue of politicians and ministers began at 10 this morning to enter the Chamber for the celebration. Among the first to arrive were Massimo D’Alema, Walter Veltroni, Beppe Sala, the ministers Giorgetti, Piantedosi, Bernini.

The Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, arrived at Montecitorio around 10.45am. A few minutes later the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, arrived.

The French head of state was also present at the ceremony Emmanuel Macron, who arrived at Montecitorio, around 11.20and the President of the Republic of Germany Frank Walter Steinmeier (who sit in armchairs arranged in a semicircle in the center of the Chamber).

The first funeral in the Montecitorio Hall

Today is the first time for a funeral in the Montecitorio Chamber, while it is not the first time that secular state funerals of representatives of the institutions have taken place. Before Napolitano, the former presidents of the Chamber Nilde Iotti and Pietro Ingrao chose the secular rite, whose funerals were celebrated outdoors in Piazza Montecitorio. For Iotti on 5 December 1999, among those who spoke was Giorgio Napolitano himself.

The ceremonial for the state funeral

The ceremonial for state funerals has a very strict protocol. The official nature of the funeral ceremony – as stated on the government website – includes: the coffin surrounded by six carabinieri in full uniform, or belonging to the same Corps as the deceased; military honors to the coffin at the entrance to the ceremony site and upon exit; the presence of a government representative; an official commemorative oration; other obligations possibly established by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.

The secular funeral formula does not provide for a particular procedure, but is agreed with the people close to the deceased. At the moment it seems clear that the presidents of the two branches of Parliament, Ignazio La Russa and Lorenzo Fontana, will speak first for about three minutes, sitting on the presidential benches, as happens in the joint sessions of the Chamber and the Senate. Slightly longer speeches followed by the other speakers chosen by Napolitano’s family: Anna Finocchiaro, Gianni Letta, Giuliano Amato (closing) Paolo Gentiloni and the cardinal and biblical scholar Gianfranco Ravasi. Napolitano’s son Giulio and his twenty-five-year-old niece Sofia, daughter of Giovanni, the other son of the deceased, also intervened.