Italy's prime minister Matteo Renzi has paid tribute to Israel's former president and Nobel peace prize winner Shimon Peres who died on Wednesday aged 93 in hospital near Tel Aviv.
"He was a great man who witnessed war and that is why he worked to build peace," Renzi told Italian radio station Rtl 102.5.
"He was a great friend of Italy's but above all a great friend of peace. Every so often history produces these exceptional figures," Renzi added.
World leaders are expected to attend Peres' funeral at Israel's at Mount Herzl national cemetery in Jerusalem on Friday, including United States president Barack Obama and Pope Francis.
Peres won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 for his role negotiating the Oslo peace accords with the Palestinians a year earlier, a prize he shared with prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was later assassinated, and with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
He was one of the last of a generation of Israeli politicians present at the new nation's birth in 1948.