Europe's Oldest Woman Is Italian And Just Turned 114

Sat, 12/07/2013 - 06:00

Emma Morano celebrated her birthday on November 29: she turned 114 years old, making her Italy’s and Europe’s oldest woman and the fifth in the world.

Mrs. Morano lives in Pallanza on Lake Maggiore in Northern Italy and celebrated her birthday with family and friends, while several journalists and TV troupes stood outside her apartment on tiny Vicolo San Leonardo hoping to interview her. However, her relatives could not accommodate all requests in order not to disrupt her tranquil life and sleeping patterns. She gave a short live TV interview to a RAI show.

Mrs. Morano still lives alone and manages to do most of the daily chores: she does housework and cooks her own meals.

“I can’t believe I hold this record!” she said. “Who would have thought? Anyway, it is interesting for you, but for me, it is a day like all others.”

Mrs. Morano was born in Civiasco, near Vercelli in Piedmont on November 29, 1899, the first of five sisters (all of them died past 90) and three brothers. Longevity is in the family as her mother lived to 91 and one of her aunts to 101.

Mrs. Morano later moved to Verbania where she married in 1926. She had a child who died when he was just six months old. She separated in 1938. She worked for a local factory and then in the kitchen of a boarding school. She retired at 75.

The secrets to her longevity? She says she leads a very regular life: she goes to bed before 7 pm and wakes up before 6 am. Her diet is the same since she was young. “For breakfast I have cookies and milk or water. During the day I eat two raw eggs and one cooked egg, as my doctor recommended when I was 20. For lunch I have some small pasta and minced meat and for dinner a little milk.” She also likes to drink a glass of homemade brandy and, from time to time, has some chocolate. Above all, she says, she thinks positive about the future.

Last year James Clement, a researcher from Harvard Medical School who is studying the secret of longevity and immunity to most illnesses through DNA, went to visit her.

On her birthday, Italy’s president Giorgio Napolitano sent her a happy birthday message: “Best wishes on behalf of all Italians.”

In her life she has seen the succession of 11 popes.