The body of Paola Puricelli was found on Thursday in the freezer of her home in Borgomanero, in the Piedmont region, La Stampa reported.
The grisly find was made after her daughter, Tiziana Devecchi, became ill and called the emergency services. She was taken to hospital while police went to secure the house and turn off the electricity, during which police officers opened the freezer.
Puricelli is thought to have died in 2010 when she was 82, La Stampa said.
Police also uncovered a letter dated the same year, in which Devecchi reportedly explains the decision to hide her mother’s body.
“This way, we will always be close,” she allegedly wrote, saying that her mother had died of natural causes.
The local prosecutor has ordered an autopsy on Puricelli’s body, while police are investigating whether Devecchi has been claiming her mother’s pension in recent years.
In a similar case last year, an Italian man allegedly hid the body of his 85-year-old father in order to continue claiming his monthly pension.
That discovery was made just weeks after the embalmed body of a “holy woman” was found, sitting in a chair in her home in north-west Italy.