Sophia Loren receives the keys to Florence

Florence mayor plays violin for Sophia Loren.

Oscar-winning Italian actress Sophia Loren received the keys to Florence at a ceremony in Palazzo Vecchio on 5 June.

After conferring the honour, Florence mayor Dario Nardella performed a violin version of O sole mio especially for the veteran star of Italian cinema.

Loren was greeted by crowds outside a new restaurant that bears her name - 'Sophia Loren Original Italian Food' on Via dei Brunelleschi - where she went for lunch.

Sophia Loren in Florence on 5 June. Photos ANSA.

"I'm not used to these thing, I get very excited" - said the 86-year-old Loren - "I'm really happy to see so many people love me."

Mayor Nardella said: "We have admiration and gratitude for Sophia Loren," hailing her as "truly an icon of cinema, culture, art, of our country."

The Italian diva, who starred in the recent film La Vita Davanti a Sé (The Life Ahead), will be honoured by the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures with its inaugural 'Visionary Award' at a ceremony in Los Angeles in September.

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Address Via dei Brunelleschi, 11, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

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Sophia Loren receives the keys to Florence

Via dei Brunelleschi, 11, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy