The Italian Almanac

Enrico De Pedis

Italian News - October 5

Enrico De Pedis, shot dead by hitmen in February 1990, was head of a gang which dominated the Roman crime scene throughout the 1980s and was responsible for numerous killings and robberies as well as drug trafficking. The fact that his tomb was in Rome's basilica of St Apollinaire, near the central Piazza Navona, re-emerged a few weeks ago in a television broadcast, causing eyebrows to be raised across the nation.

The Rome diocesan headquarters, or 'Vicariato', on Monday released a statement saying that the body would remain where it was. "An exhumation is not considered necessary, given the authorisation granted by the then cardinal vicar, as well as the respect that is anyway owed to every deceased person." The statement admitted that "current authorities" did not know why permission had been given but said the diocese wanted to stand by the decision taken at the time by Cardinal Ugo Poletti, then vicar of Rome.

De Pedis, known as Renatino, was 36 when he was shot dead by hitmen sent by his former friends and partners in crime. By then extremely rich, he had already practically retired. He started his criminal career at 23, leading a group of young delinquents who organised muggings and robberies in the Testaccio area of the capital. During the 1970s he met an important Roman gangster in prison and with his help founded the 'Magliana' gang which later became the most feared organisation in the capital.