Rome - An elderly woman has died in Italy after being struck by a three-metre-tall metal crucifix, the Ansa news agency reported on Wednesday.

The accident took place in the southern town of Sant'Onofrio.

The victim, 67-year-old Maddalena Camillo was walking through the main square of the town when a monument positioned in the centre of the square fell over, smashing her skull.

Investigators believe the 100-year-old crucifix may have fallen as a result of work being carried out in preparation of a religious festival honouring the town's patron saint and scheduled to take place on Sunday.

The accident has prompted organisers to suspend the festival. - Sapa-dpa