Rome – Emma Morano, a woman from north-western Italy, whose life has spanned three centuries and 11 popes, and is recognised as the oldest person in the world, celebrated her 117th birthday on Tuesday.
Morano started her day with an egg, biscuits and camomile, her doctor Carlo Bava told journalists. He described the super centenarian as happy, smiling and “very alert.”
Carmen Pedretti, an official from the local municipality of Verbania, said the mayor was to visit Morano at her home in the village of Pallanza, by Lake Maggiore.
The mayor “usually brings a cake,” Pedretti added.
Morano received birthday wishes from President Sergio Mattarella, who hailed her “exceptional” achievement. Verbania authorities organised the staging of a musical and the presentation of a book about her for later in the day.
The municipality said Morano had a tough life. She was the oldest of eight siblings and married an abusive husband from whom she “courageously” separated in 1938. Their only child died six months after his birth.
“He would beat me every day; I would do nothing wrong, I would go to work, he worked very little and I would have to support him,” Morano told Italian website Fanpage.
She added that she did not seek another partner after parting ways with her husband.
Morano attributes her longevity to a diet based on eggs and meat. “My doctor told me to eat raw meat, preferably minced, so I can eat it,” she said.
Super centenarians are people aged 110 or above.
According to the Gerontology Research Group, a U.S. body that tracks super centenarians, 45 women and two men have reached that age. The oldest person after Morano is Jamaican woman Violet Brown, who is set to turn 117 on March 10. (dpa/NAN)