Emma Morano was an Italian supercentenarian who, at the age of 117 years and 137 days, was the world’s oldest living person whose age has been verified, and the last living person verified to have been born in the 1800s.
Let’s find out some fun facts about her!
1. Emma Martina Luigia Morano was born 29 November 1899 in Civiasco, Vercelli, Piedmont, Italy.
2. Her parents were Giovanni Morano and Matilde Bresciani, the eldest of eight children (five daughters and three sons).
3. She had a long-lived family: her mother, an aunt and some of her siblings turned 90, and one of her sisters, Angela Morano (1908–2011), died at age 102.
4. When she was a child, she moved from the Sesia Valley to Ossola for her father’s job, but the climate was so unhealthy there that a physician advised her family to live somewhere with a milder climate, so she moved to Pallanza, on Lake Maggiore, where she lived the rest of her life.
5. In October 1926, she married Giovanni Martinuzzi (1901–1978), and in 1937 her only child was born but died when he was only six months old.
6. The marriage was not happy, so in 1938 Morano separated from her husband, driving him out of the house; despite the couple’s separation, they remained married until his death in 1978.
7. Until 1954, she worked at Maioni Industry, a jute factory in her town.
8. She subsequently worked in the kitchen of Collegio Santa Maria, a Marianist boarding school in Pallanza, until her retirement at the age of 75.
9. Morano was still living alone in her home on her 115th birthday.
10. When asked about the secret of her longevity, she said that she had never used drugs, ate three eggs a day, drank a glass of homemade brandy, and enjoyed a chocolate sometimes, but, above all, she thought positively about the future.
11. Morano credited her long life to her diet of raw eggs and being single.
12. In 2011, Morano was visited as part of a worldwide study conducted by George Church for Harvard Medical School of Boston, to study the secret of her longevity.
13. In December of that year, she was awarded the honor of Knight of Order of Merit of the Italian Republic by President Giorgio Napolitano.
14. Morano became the oldest living person in Italy and Europe after the death of Maria Redaelli on 2 April 2013. On her 114th birthday, she gave a short live TV interview to a RAI show.
15. On her 116th birthday, Morano received congratulations from Pope Francis.
16. She surpassed the age of Venere Pizzinato in August 2014 and Dina Manfredini (who died in the United States) in August 2015, to become the oldest Italian person ever.
17. On 13 May 2016, upon the death of American woman Susannah Mushatt Jones, Morano became the world’s oldest living person and also the last living person verified to have been born in the 1800s.
18. On 29 July 2016 she was presented with a certificate from Guinness World Records recognizing her as the oldest person alive.
19. Festivities celebrating her 117th birthday on 29 November 2016 were broadcast live in Italy.
20. Morano passed away in her home located in Verbania, Italy on 15 April 2017, at the age of 117.
21. At the time of her death she was the oldest person alive and one of the five oldest people in recorded history.
22. Her death marked the end of an era, as she was the last known living person born in the 1800s.