Ashley Olsen's body is understood to have been found on a bed in her apartment, situated in Florence's historic city centre (pictured)Getty Images

Italian police have launched a murder investigation after an American woman was found dead in her apartment with bruises and marks on her neck. Artist Ashley Olsen, 35, who is originally from Florida, is understood to have been found dead in her Florence apartment by her as-yet unidentified boyfriend, who had become worried that he hadn't heard from her in several days following a row.

The boyfriend, who is also an artist living in Florence, arrived at Olsen's apartment at about 1.30pm on 9 January and rang the bell but it went unanswered, according to La Repubblica Daily. He then called the apartment's owner and convinced him to open the door, which is when he found his girlfriend's body.

Police declined to comment on the specifics of the discovery of Olsen's body, and said they could not confirm whether or not she had been strangled until after a post-mortem had taken place. Police spokeswoman Maddalena Carosi did, however, confirm Olsen's identity, and revealed she had been found with scratch marks and bruises on her neck.

Local TV reports said Olsen's body was found on a bed in her apartment, which is situated in Florence's historic city centre. TV and local newspaper accounts said her body was identified by her father, who teaches at a Florence school, the Mirror has reported.

Investigators have since seized Olsen's computer and have taken her boyfriend and a group of her mostly American friends in for questioning, the MailOnline has reported. Florence prosecutors said they are investigating Olsen's death as a murder.

Olsen is understood to have lived in Italy for several years after moving there from her native Florida. She is understood to have been working as an artist and organised art-related events in her adoptive city, where she lived with her dog, Scout.

Olsen was very active on social media, regularly sharing photographs of her daily life in Florence on her Instagram page. Scout the dog appears in many of her images.

#chillin in #isoladelba #elba #bbq #scoutthebeagle #scallawag #islandlife #toscana #italia #tuscany #italy

A photo posted by Ashley Olsen (@ashleyannolsen) on

#dogwalk in #firenze #scoutthebeagle #dogdays #beaglelover #ilovethisdamndog #oltrarno #toscana #italia

A photo posted by Ashley Olsen (@ashleyannolsen) on

#nosydog #scoutthebeagle #beaglelover #beaglesofinstagram #ilovethisdamndog #cutiepatootie #firenze #toscana

A photo posted by Ashley Olsen (@ashleyannolsen) on