The alleged ringleaders of a mafia gang that infiltrated Rome's City Hall went on trial Thursday on a landmark day for Italy's battle against organised crime.
Massimo Carminati, a convicted gangster with a history of involvement with violent far-right groups, and 45 others are accused of operating a mafia-style network that used extortion, fraud and theft to divert millions of euros destined for public services into their own pockets.
The maxi-trial is scheduled to run until next summer. After Thursday's opening session in Rome's criminal court, hearings are to take place in the Rebibbia prison on the outskirts of the capital.
Prosecutors say the racketeering in Rome went on for years, helping to bring the city to the brink of financial collapse and contributing to the current sorry state of its infrastructure and many of its public services.
Among those on trial are local politicians, businessmen and city officials.