Zenari, who became Veneto's oldest resident five days before her 110th birthday on 23 February 2012 after the death of Stella Nardari-Vecchiato, the country's oldest resident, is also currently Italy's eleventh-oldest known resident as of 2 March 2012, following the death of 111-year-old Giovanni Ligato.
Zenari, who worked for several decades as a haberdasher (dealer in men's clothing and tailoring supplies), is known to her family as "Grandma Cirilla" or "Ocialeti".
Reported to have been a determined and tireless worker throughout her life, Zenari was said to have, according to a number of relatives, been a "feminist before her time", marrying her then-husband, Alberto Sgrignani, against their family's wishes. She had one daughter, Anna Maria, with him.
|Zenari on her 105th birthday|
She celebrated her 110th birthday with a glass of her favourite wine, Recioto di Soave, a passito (straw wine), produced in and around Verona, Veneto, Italy. The party took place at her retirement home, The Betulle: Casa de Soggiorno, or literally The Birches: House of Living. The party took place with her family and several Betulle staff. It was reported that for over ten years, the retirement home had become known as the home of the "Granny of Verona".
If validated, Zenari would at present be the 72nd-oldest living person, following the death of Émilienne Nacry of Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France, on 10 March 2012, aged 111 years, 0 days. She would also, at age 110 years, 14 days, be Italy's 104th-oldest ever person, one day ahead of Natalina Simoncini-Pistolesi of Tuscany, who died in January 2000.
Chris Amos and Gerontology Research Group correspondent Paolo Scarabaggio helped with the writing of this article.