Emma Morano, the last living person known to have been born in the 1800s, celebrated her 117th birthday on Tuesday, still swearing by her diet of two raw eggs a day.
Born in November 29, 1899, four years before the Wright brothers first took to the air, Morano is believed to be the world's oldest person, her life spanning three centuries, two World Wars and more than 90 Italian governments.
Friends, neighbors and her doctor gathered in her small apartment in the northern town of Verbania, where she still lives alone, to mark the latest milestone, presenting her with a large white birthday cake.
In an interview with La Stampa newspaper five years ago she said her fiance had died in World War One and that she had then been forced to marry a man she did not love.
It was not a happy marriage. They had a child in 1937, but he died after just six months and the following year Morano kicked out her abusive husband.
"My life wasn't so nice," she told Reuters as she sat in an armchair by her window, a white shawl over her shoulders. "I worked in a factory until I was 65, then that was that."
''I used to sing. I had a beautiful voice," she said.
The secret to her longevity appears to be down to her love of eggs and repetition.
"When I first knew her she used to eat three eggs a day, two raw one and one fried," explained Morano's doctor Carlo Bava.
"Today she has slowed down a bit, she only eats two a day, three may be a bit too heavy. Ever since I have known her she ate very few vegetables, very little fruit. The main feature (of her diet) is that she always eats the same things, every day, every week, every month, of every year,'' he explained.
Sadly there were no other family members at the party as Emma Morano has outlived all her eight brothers and sisters.