Two Italian Simonas were freed

The candlelit vigil outside the Italian parliament for the two aid workers is finally over.

On Tuesday evening, the candles can be blown out and the peace flags folded up, not in mourning but in joy as Italy celebrates the news that Simona Pari and Simona Torretta, kidnapped on 7 September, have been freed.

"I'm so happy," says Francesca, 28. "I just didn't expect good news, everyone really expected the worst... but now we see that the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>pacifist people are not as vulnerable as we thought."

"I've called all my family to tell them," says Stefano who found out from a delighted passer-by, reports BBC News.

Prime Minister &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Silvio Berlusconi announced the news to cheers in parliament, television stations broke into normal programing with special bulletins and out on the streets, ordinary Italians finally found something to smile at.

"It's like being reborn. Out of the darkness and into the light," said Annamaria Torretta, the mother of one of the two freed hostages, as she welcomed hundreds of wellwishers besieging her &to=http:// 19/95/380/10114_hermitage.html' target=_blank>Rome apartment.

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