SAN POLO DEI CAVALIERI, Italy (Reuters) - A lonely pensioner who turned to Italy's classified pages to find someone willing to "adopt" him as a grandfather is finally heading to his new home and family in northern Italy this weekend.

Giorgio Angelozzi, 80, has lived alone outside Rome with seven cats since his wife died in 1992, but he took the unprecedented step of putting himself up for adoption last month via the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

Not satisfied with just running the advertisement, Italy's main daily ran a front-page story about Angelozzi's plight.

Inundated with offers from families across Italy and as far away as New Zealand, Brazil and the United States, the retired schoolteacher has decided to go to live with Elio and Marlena Riva and their two teenage children in Bergamo, northern Italy.

"I was hit by a torrential downpour. I didn't think I would be able to choose among so many offers," the white-bearded Angelozzi told Reuters during his last hours in his simple two-room flat.

"But I chose the woman whose voice reminded me of my wife."

Angelozzi's appeal struck a chord in family-loving Italy where up to four generations have traditionally lived under the same roof or at least in the same neighborhood.

Today, one in five Italians is over the age of 65 and almost half of them live alone, partly because of the more mobile lifestyle of younger generations. Italy also has one of the lowest birth rates in Europe.

"Remember that my problem is one that affects so many elderly people in Italy. Always remember that," Angelozzi had said during the initial flurry of attention.

He will travel with Marlena Riva to Bergamo on Saturday night where his new home boasts a garden with apple, cherry and pomegranate trees and a beagle called Pablo to replace his cats.


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