World's oldest person celebrates 117th birthday

  • 30/11/2016
Emma Morano (Reuters)
Emma Morano (Reuters)

A woman thought to be the oldest person in the world has celebrated her 117th birthday on Tuesday (local time).

Italian Emma Morano was surrounded by her friends and family for her landmark birthday party, hosted in her one-room apartment in the northern town of Verbania.

A second party was planned for the afternoon, including a second cake and a visit from the local mayor, but only after she'd had a nap.

Ms Morano was born in 1899, meaning she's believed to be the world's last living link to the 19th century.

Her life has spanned three centuries, two World Wars and more than 90 Italian governments.

She lives alone, having outlived all eight of her brothers and sisters. Her first husband died in World War I, before she remarried to a man she says she didn't love.

"'Either you agree to marry me or I will kill you'," Ms Morano recalled in an interview with La Stampa newspaper five years ago. "I was 26. We got married."

They had a son, who died six months after he was born, before she kicked out her abusive husband.

Ms Morano says her secret to longevity is not eating too much, because she has no teeth - but she swears by a steady diet of two eggs a day.

"She has never eaten much fruit or vegetables. Her characteristic is that she always eats the same thing, every day, every week, every month and every year," her doctor Carlo Bava told Reuters.