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World's oldest living person celebrates 117th birthday in Italy'

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-11-30 22:00

ROME - A woman considered as the world's oldest living person turned 117 in northwest Italy on Tuesday.

Emma Morano was born on Nov 29, 1899, in a village near the city of Vercelli, and has been living at the outskirts of the town of Verbania on the western side of the lake Maggiore over 25 years.

Her fellow citizens, and the country overall, warmly greeted her. The mayor of Verbania was among the guests at her 117th birthday party, and Italian President Sergio Mattarella congratulated her in a letter, according to ANSA news agency.

"I am particularly happy to express my congratulations for your 117th birthday," the Italian head of state wrote. "To you, the last witness of the 1800s, I send my best wishes for serenity and good health, also on behalf of all Italians."

Morano is believed to be the last living person to have been born in the 1800s. Spanning through three centuries, she has witnessed three Italian kings, has seen that Italy became a republic, and lived through a dozen different presidents.

Despite such surprising longevity, her life has not been easy at all, the old woman admitted to local media. She has outlived all of her family members, namely eight brothers and sisters.

She lost a boyfriend in World War I, and then married a quite violent man, whom she did not love, according to La Stampa newspaper.

She also lost her only child as well, not long before leaving her brutal husband in 1930s. Since then, she supported herself, lived alone, and worked in a factory until the age of 65.

Yet, the most surprising note in her life is perhaps -- considering the longevity -- her diet: three eggs a day up to some 10 years ago, and currently two.

Always a biscuits-lover, she has been used to eat very little vegetables, according to her personal doctor.

Other curiosities: she has never seen the sea, she resigned to accept a full-time home caregiver two years ago, and she now has her own Facebook account, which her nephews believed was a good gift for her turning 117.

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