Sophia Loren (search) received the honorary citizenship of her hometown in southern Italy on Wednesday. The film legend broke into tears as she was feted in a ceremony by the local community.

Crowds of locals and photographers greeted Loren, 70, as she arrived for the ceremony in Pozzuoli (search), just outside Naples (search).

Dressed in an elegant all-white outfit with a scarf, Loren was presented with a blue band representing honorary citizenship of the seaside town.

"Thank you, thank you, I don't know if I deserve it," the ANSA news agency quoted her as saying.

Loren grew up in the town, visiting its single theater regularly to catch Hollywood movies. During World War II Loren's family were forced to flee to nearby Naples, returning to Pozzuoli when the conflict finished.

Today she lives between Switzerland and the United States.

Antonio Bassolino, governor of the region around Naples, compared Loren to other film divas Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe, but said that Loren had kept her feet on the ground because she had grown up with "strong values."

"She's Neapolitan, she's never given up her family and her contact with daily life," ANSA quoted him as saying.