Emma Morano, last known survivor of 19th century, dies

Emma Morano, an Italian woman believed to have been the oldest person alive and the last survivor of the 19th century, died on Saturday at the age of 117, Italian media reported.

Emma Morano, last known survivor of 19th century, dies
Photo: Olivier Morin/AFP

Morano, born on November 29 1899, died at her home in Verbania, northern Italy, the reports said.

“She had an extraordinary life, and we will always remember her strength to help us move forward in life,” the mayor of Verbania was quoted as saying.

According to the US-based Gerontology Research Group (GRG), Morano ceded the crown of the world's oldest human being to Jamaican Violet Brown, who was born on March 10th, 1900.

Morano's death means there is no one living known to have been born before 1900.

Her first love died in World War I, but she married later and left her violent husband just before the Second World War and shortly after the deathin infancy of her only son.

She had clung to her independence, only taking on a full-time carer a couple of years ago, though she had not left her small two-room apartment for 20 years.

She had been bed-bound during her latter years.

In an interview with AFP last year, she put her longevity down to her diet.

“I eat two eggs a day, and that's it. And cookies. But I do not eat much because I have no teeth,” she said in her home at the time, where the Guinness World Records certificate declaring her to be the oldest person alive held pride of place on a marble-topped chest of drawers.

Her dietary regime has intrigued the medical and scientific worlds.

The eldest of eight children, Morano outlived all of her younger siblings.


Woman dies after falling into a disused garage in Rome

A 37-year-old woman has died after falling eight metres into an underground garage in Rome, local media reported on Wednesday.

Woman dies after falling into a disused garage in Rome
The accident happened close to Rome's Tiburtina station. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The incident occurred shortly after 11pm on Tuesday night, as the woman, who has been named as Tiziana Laudani, was walking close to the Tiburtina train station.

She is thought to have fallen through a metal grate into a disused underground car park.

Two men who had been with Laudani were also injured and in a state of shock after apparently trying to save their friend.

Firefighters were still working to establish the exact cause of the accident on Wednesday morning, as well as how the three people entered the area. According to Il Messaggero, the two men told police they had gone into the square to get a better view of some shooting stars.

The square has been closed to traffic for seven years; in 2009, works began on building an underground car park, but the contractors responsible went bust, and the area has been left to fall into disrepair.

Protesters have complained about the danger of the area on several occasions.

“It breaks our hearts that our many efforts were not enough to get the area's most important square redeveloped so that this tragedy could be avoided,” said one local activist Fabrizio Montanini, according to La Repubblica.