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Eclipsing the Eternal City

'Twilight' promotional event fires up Italian fans

European hysteria for “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” started spreading on Thursday from a Rome red carpet with St. Peter’s in the backdrop and stars Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner strutting amid throngs of fans just a stone’s throw from the Vatican’s main pilgrimage site.

After kicking off in Australia, the “Eclipse” pre-release promo push swooped down on the Eternal City. It’s due to move on to Berlin and Stockholm, snubbing Paris and London.

In Rome, more than 1,700 “Twilight” fans assembled in the Vatican-owned Auditorium della Conciliazione for a 15-minute sneak peek, followed by an onstage conversation with the thesps who play Bella and Jacob and screenings of the franchise’s first two installments.

Earlier in the day at a packed presser, Stewart repeated her familiar refrain that this time the love triangle between Bella, Edward and Jacob, “actually becomes three-sided,” while Lautner also assured there would be a “climax of the love triangle” and also more “action.”

Tickets for the Rome “Eclipse” event, priced at e15 ($18), sold out in 45 minutes, pulverizing previous Italo ticket-sales records, according to a spokeswoman for pic’s distrib, Eagle Pictures.

The Rome promo was preceded by the first Twilight Italian Convention, held in the capital.

Italy has been an auspicious berth for the previous “Twilight” pics. The first installment’s first sneak peak with stars in tow took place at the Rome Film Festival in 2008, providing its earliest tangible evidence of molto buzz.

“Eclipse,” which bows worldwide June 30, will world preem at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles on June 24 by private invitation only.

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