Italian 'Big Brother' star auctioning virginity

Draws criticism from many camps, including Vatican

ROME -- Raffaella Fico, a 20-year-old showgirl who became well-known in Italy as the virgin contestant on the latest season of the Italian version of "Big Brother," on Friday began attracting widespread criticism for her offer to auction off her virginity for 1 million euros ($1.45 million).

Officials from the Vatican are among those blasting Fico's plans to, as she said, "See if someone will pay that amount to have me."

Fico was one of the most popular contestants on the latest season of "Grande Fratello," the Mediaset reality program wrapping up its eighth edition.

If she actually auctions her virginity and someone is willing to pay the amount she is asking for, it could make Italian television history: Fico has not ruled out building a television program around her deflowering. The program would presumably air on Mediaset.

Groups critical of Fico's plans criticize it as an extremely high-priced form of prostitution and say that the airing of a program based on the taking of the young woman's virginity would provide a new low in Italian television.