Riccardo De Luca, Associated Press
Italian movie legend Sophia Loren waves as she walks the red carpet at the Rome Film Festival on Friday.

Sophia Loren broke into tears at an awards ceremony Saturday in Rome as she recalled her climb to fame from the gritty Neapolitan suburb where she grew up.

"Lady History was generous to the girl from Pozzuoli, and I thank her together with all of you," Loren said, her voice breaking with sobs, at the award ceremony in Rome's City Hall.

The city honored Loren with the Campidoglio (City Hall) prize, describing her as "not only an icon of cinema, but a very synonym of Italy, of that Italy made up of elegance, passion, genius, humanity and beauty."

Loren, 73, wore a low-cut, tailored outfit to the ceremony in the Italian capital, which is hosting an international film festival.