Elephants in Rome: Nanni Moretti film slammed by animal rights group

LAV complains to Rome mayor over use of elephants in Moretti movie.

The surreal sight of four elephants being paraded down a central Rome street against the backdrop of the Colosseum prompted incredulity among tourists on Tuesday morning.

In addition to spawning inevitable jokes about Hannibal, the bizarre spectacle also attracted the ire of animal rights activists.

The elephants, on hire from two circuses, were part of a new movie being filmed on Via dei Fori Imperiali by veteran Italian filmmaker Nanni Moretti.

Gianluca Felicetti, president of LAV, one of Italy's foremost animal rights organisations, slammed the decision in a tweet aimed at Rome mayor Roberto Gualtieri.

Questioning why videography could not be used, Felicetti wrote: "In Rome elephants prisoners of circuses paraded on Via dei Fori Imperiali for the filming of Nanni Moretti's film Il sol dell’avvenire. Who authorised this treatment of animals?"

Elephants in front of Trajan's Markets on Tuesday afternoon

The elephants were on set from early Tuesday before being fed and bundled onto a lorry in front of Trajan's Markets in the afternoon and given a police escort.

Moretti's movie, set in Rome in the 1950s and 1970s, stars Silvio Orlando and Barbora Bobulova who were seen riding an elephant on Via dei Fori Imperiali, reports La Repubblica newspaper.

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Elephants in Rome: Nanni Moretti film slammed by animal rights group

Via dei Fori Imperiali, Roma RM, Italy