Italian church loses battle over loud bells

Genoa, Italy - A court in Italy has ordered a parish to pay some 60,000 euros (87,800 dollars) to a woman who claims that the loud pealing of bells at her neighbourhood church caused her "moral" and "physical" damage over a 23-year-long period, news reports said Tuesday. The woman, a retired teacher from Lavagna near the north-western city of Genoa began her legal battle against the Madonna del Carmine parish in 2003, the ANSA news agency reported.

Judge Pasquale Grasso, ruling in the woman's favour, also ordered the parish to lower the volume of the bells at the Church of Santo Stefano.

Bells are rung at Roman Catholic churches to signal the hour or to notify worshippers to go to church for mass or other religious functions including weddings and funerals.