Body of Italian pop singer Lucio Battisti exhumed
Widow oversees transfer of Italian music star who died in 199806 September, 12:36
But the cemetery was kept closed for the occasion, so those hoping to pay their last respects at the gravesite chapel, with dirty opaque glass and hundreds of messages and cards accumulated over the years, had to do so Thursday.
Battisti was one of the best known and most influential pop-rock musicians when he died after a long illness at the age of 55 in 1998.
Battisti was buried in the cemetery of Molteno, a town nestled between lakes near the city of Lecco, where he spent his last years with his family.
Battisti's widow, Grazia, was besieged by journalists and fans as she entered the cemetery to attend her late husband's transferral to a van, which bore the logo of a funeral services company in Rimini, a city on the Adriatic coast, indicating the probable destination for Battisti's coffin.
"We are certain we respected Battisti's wishes who we know wanted to be here," said Molteno Mayor Mauro Proserio.
"We are convinced that we never betrayed this desire of his, nor to have exposed him to the people's curiosity or commercial business (exploitation)," Proserio continued.
"Clearly, we now also respect the wishes of his family," the mayor added.
Tears and applause broke out among the crowd as the funeral van pulled away from the cemetery gates.