(ANSA) - ROME, APR 2 - President Sergio Mattarella on Sunday responded to autistic youths' saying he was one of them by saying "thanks, I'm one of you" at the PizzAut event marking the opening of the pizza-making group's second restaurant after Milan, at Monza, on World Autism Awareness Day.
"This is a compliment for me because I am one of you. Thank you'" said Mattarella thanking the PizzAut boys at the end of the lunch.
In fact, the boys repeatedly sang the chorus 'Mattarella one of us' to him - a phrase that was also written on the apron they gave him.
Mattarella attended the autism awareness event in Monza and ate pizza made especially for him by autistic kids on World Autism Awareness Day.
During the lunch at the PizzAut event, Mattarella tucked into a pizza dubbed Article One after the first article of the Italian Constitution which says Italy is a republic founded on work.
"Italy is a democratic republic also founded on our work," said the children and youths. Before the pizza Mattarella ate antipasti, fried gnocchi and salumi.
Organizer Nico Acampora said "dining and supping with Mattarella is an extraordinary thing, be jealous of us because we are talking in a wonderful way." The young people said "president you're one of us" as they celebrated opening the group's second pizzeria.
A young autistic waiter played Beethoven's Ode to Joy European anthem for the president.