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Some outraged relatives shunned official ceremonies as a state funeral service, attended by Italy's President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, for 18 of the victims was under way on Saturday. "I apologize, even though it's not my fault, in the name of the state for what it might not have done in the last years".

Using cement containing too much sand, for instance, produces bridges and viaducts liable to crumble.

One grieving man collapsed on a seat by a coffin as a woman tenderly cradled his head.

Our children are not a tool for public parades... it is among those who loved them that they will receive their farewell.

Among the coffins was a small white one for the youngest victim, an eight-year-old boy who was killed alongside his parents.

Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco, who is expected to lead the mass, expressed his respect for those who refused state funerals.

Both the Sampdoria and Genoa teams had already announced they wouldn't play their matches this weekend but at a later date.

Some families, however, chose not to join the service. "Of course, you apologise if you feel responsible".

The government would launch a plan next month aimed at making Italy's infrastructure safe, Giancarlo Giorgetti, undersecretary in the Prime Minister's office, said in a newspaper interview, saying it would include motorways, bridges and viaducts but also public buildings such as schools. "We all want to know what happened", he said.

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Firefighters and police officers were applauded as they entered the exhibition centre.

The motorway bridge in Genoa that collapsed killing 43 people is expected to take eight months to fix.

Italy's populist government has accused Autostrade per l'Italia, the firm that managed the Genoa motorway bridge, of putting profits before safety and failing to spend enough on maintenance - a charge the company vociferously denies.

"Now it is the time of grief. but we must think about the conditions of the roads of our region and the security of our infrastructure because these victims can not be followed by other victims", Ilaria Caprioglio, the mayor of the town of Savona, said ahead of the ceremony. It has 15 days to counter arguments.

But a report emerged yesterday, commissioned by the company itself, which warned about the condition of the concrete-encased cable stays that held the bridge up.

CEO Castellucci said that to his knowledge, Morandi bridge was in "good health" before the tragedy, and the company hopes to rebuild it.

"The study flagged that there was an anomaly because elements which should have been reacting in the same way did not (do so)", he said. The collapse has prompted fears over other ageing infrastructure in Italy and overseas, with Bulgaria announcing Thursday a plan to renovate more than 200 bridges while France has said one in three of national road bridges are in need of fix.

Officials have decided the buildings must be demolished as it is too risky to leave them.

Autostrade, which operates and maintains almost half of Italy's motorways, estimates it will take five months to rebuild the bridge.

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