MILAN:- Thousands of mourners sang as they walked through the streets of Milan Saturday to pay their respects to Italy’s Nobel prize-winning dramatist Dario Fo at a lay ceremony in front of the city’s Gothic cathedral. The funeral cortege wound its way in heavy rain from the Piccolo Teatro Strehler where Fo’s coffin had been lying in state, with mourners singing political ballads in honour of the left-winger, who died on Thursday aged 80.

Crowds taking shelter under a sea of coloured umbrellas in the northern Italian city’s Piazza Duomo chanted “Dario! Dario!” Fo’s son Jacopo and some of the country’s cultural elite spoke in honour of a provocative playwright unafraid to clash with authority. “We are celebrating the greatest among us, who had the ability to ridicule the powerful by pulling faces,” Fo’s close friend Carlo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food Movement, told the crowds. On this day of mourning, “it’s better to be generous than miserly. We will pop corks, sing, dance, and make love”, he said.