David Sassoli’s coffin will lie in state at the City Hall’s Capitol Hill in Rome ahead of his state funeral on Friday.
Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi and President Sergio Mattarella attended the ceremony for the late President of the European Parliament, along with Sassoli’s wife and children.
Sassoli will be buried at Rome’s Santa Maria degli Angeli, the church where state funerals are held.
The former Italian journalist who worked to defend the oppressed died on Tuesday aged 65. He had been hospitalised since December 26, his spokesman said.
He was remembered by officials as a sincere and passionate European.
“David Sassoli was a man of deep faith and strong convictions. Everyone loved his smile and his kindness, yet he knew how to fight for what he believed in,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said after his death.
Sassoli had been struggling for months with poor health after he suffered pneumonia caused by the legionella bacteria in September.
His health steadily declined and he was forced to miss several important legislative meetings. Yet, as much as possible, he stayed on the job, where his vigour and easy smile had always been a trademark.
He was at his strongest when he took up the cause of migrants who died crossing the Mediterranean or dissidents such as Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is taking on the Kremlin from a jail cell.