(Sky News) Mourners sobbed and caressed coffins, some of them holding the bodies of young children, as Italy prepared to hold a state funeral for some victims of the devastating earthquake that struck a central mountainous area this week.
As Italy observed a day of national mourning, with flags flying at half-staff, those hit hardest by the tragedy expressed their grief.
A young man wept over a little girl's small white coffin, while a woman nearby gently stroked another white coffin. Everywhere people hugged and cried as they stood amid 34 coffins laid out in a community gym in Ascoli Piceno, where the state funeral is to be held in the presence of President Sergio Mattarella and Premier Matteo Renzi.
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'It is a great tragedy. There are no words to describe it,' said Gina Razzetti, a town resident who joined hundreds of local people for the funeral.