American woman was strangled: police

An American woman whose body was found in her Florence flat was strangled, the official in charge of the murder probe said on Tuesday after a postmortem was carried out overnight.

American woman was strangled: police
Two women walk past the entrance to the building that houses the flat of Ashley Olsen, a 35-year-old American expatriate artist who was found dead on January 9th. Photo: Claudio Giovannini/AFP

Florence's chief prosecutor Giuseppe Creazzo also said autopsy had not given any indication that Ashley Olsen, 35, had struggled with her killer, according to the AGI news agency.

The outcome of the autopsy is expected to strengthen investigators' theory that Olsen, an artist and event organiser who lived in the Tuscan city, knew her attacker.

Police found no evidence of a break-in when her naked body was found at noon on Saturday, more than 24 hours after she was last seen by friends at a late-night bar in the early hours of Friday morning.

Her body was discovered by boyfriend Federico Fiorentini, an Italian artist, who is also her landlord. He reportedly raised the alarm after becoming concerned he had not heard from her for three days after the pair had rowed.

Fiorentini provided police with an alibi on Monday and is not under investigation, Italian press reports said.

The autopsy was unable to establish the precise time of death with the experts putting it between the early hours of Friday and Saturday morning.

The prosecutor has ordered further tests to establish whether Olsen had had sex prior to her death and whether she had taken any drugs.

The murder investigation has generated a high level of interest in Italy and beyond following a lengthy legal saga surrounding another American expat in Italy, Amanda Knox, who was acquitted last year of involvement in the 2007 murder of her British flatmate Meredith Kercher.


US tourist fined €500 for driving on Florence’s Ponte Vecchio bridge

Italian police fined a Californian man after he drove a rented Fiat Panda across Florence’s iconic - and pedestrianised - Ponte Vecchio on Thursday.

US tourist fined €500 for driving on Florence’s Ponte Vecchio bridge

The 34-year-old man drove onto the bridge in the early afternoon of Thursday, January 26th, but was quickly stopped by police.

He reportedly told officers that he was looking for parking and wasn’t aware he was on the Ponte Vecchio, one of Florence’s most recognisable landmarks.

Completed in 1345, the bridge today is famously a narrow, cobbled walkway lined with small shops selling jewellery and souvenirs.

READ ALSO: US tourist charged with public indecency after posing naked at Amalfi Cathedral

The visitor, from California, had been planning on touring Florence by car (a rented Fiat Panda, to be exact). 

But whether he was trying to put one over local police or he just wasn’t aware of local traffic rules, his early-afternoon ride cost him dearly as he later received a total 500-euro fine for entering a pedestrian-only area and driving without an international driving permit. 

READ ALSO: ‘Americans can pay’: Italian minister says famous sites should hike entry fees

Florence recently announced a restoration project worth €2 million for the bridge – which was the only one in the city left standing after World War II.

Thursday’s incident was not the first time a tourist was caught driving across the Ponte Vecchio. 

In 2019, a 79-year-old German tourist drove onto the bridge in a rented Lamborghini sports car. After being stopped by local police, the man reportedly told officers he was “lost”.