Many more Italians in northern Italy opt for cremation than in the south, a new study confirms.

The survey made ahead of the Tanexpor trade fair for the funeral sector, which will take place in Bologna from 28-30 March reported that in 2006 cremations took place after 15.7 per cent of deaths in the north, compared to 9.6 per cent in central Italy and 0.35 per cent in the south.

The average number of people choosing cremation in Italy (9.5 per cent) is still way behind that in the rest of Europe (36 per cent).

There are currently 45 crematoriums in Italy (31 in the north, nine in central Italy and one in the south), although five more should be operational by the end of the year, according to Italian funeral services association Sefit.