The 81-year-old Hollywood star was feted on Saturday (08Jul16) in a ceremony hosted by Mayor Luigi de Magistris, with more than 500 residents in attendance, reports The Associated Press.

Marking the occasion on Twitter, De Magistris revealed that Loren and the city, which served as the backdrop of so many of her movies, had "intertwined hearts".

The Oscar-winning actress wore a black dress with a fuchsia floral print for the ceremony, and gushed to the crowd, "I feel so much love."

Loren was born in Rome but grew up near Naples, and her breakthrough role came in Vittorio De Sica's film The Gold of Naples in 1954. She once famously told an interviewer, "I am not Italian. I am Neapolitan. It's another thing!"

Despite her very public honour, the iconic actress is fiercely private, and revealed earlier this year she was overcome with nerves ahead of a question and answer event in Las Vegas back in March (16).

Loren told W magazine at the time, "Yes, of course I am nervous! I am always nervous when I start to do something new, though it doesn't - I hope - last very long.

"If you are a good person, you always know how to answer well. If you are a bad person, then maybe you should worry about yourself and what you answer. I am a very good person, so I think I can do not a very good job, but answer nicely and how I feel. I always respect my character and I trust myself. And there's nothing I have to hide, you know?"

Sophia has had an illustrious career, with two Oscars and five Golden Globes to her name, and although she has had some lows over the years, the actress insists there's nothing she'd change about her past.

"I'm very glad," she previously said of her movie history. "But in a long, long career like I had... it's very difficult to be able to criticise some of the moments that you do by yourself that you never tell to other people. It's a very normal thing to do because you cannot every time have a big victory - no, there have been moments, maybe weak moments, where you did something that you are not really very happy about."