A slow walk along the mountain slopes, from the beginning of the twentieth century until today. After years of studying the DNA of those Sardinian grandparents, genetics has had to give up: it only accounts for a mere 20%. Lifestyle, diet and exercise, it is for these reasons that Sardinian men have become the longest-living in the world.

The Ogliastra region in Sardinia, Okinawa in Japan, Icaria in Greece, Loma Linda in California and Nicoya in Costa Rica are the five Blue Zones in the planet, where the highest percentage of centenarians has been registered. Those places are all sited in mountain hamlets, with their steep slopes favorable to daily physical activity, even to get to work. The central mountain region of the Island of Sardinia, the Gennargentu massif, has become famous for the longevity of its inhabitants. 107-year-old Consola Melis, the eldest of the children, and her 7 brothers hold the world-wide record for being the oldest siblings in the world, having a combined age of 739 years. 96-year-old Michelino Scudu survived the Second World War after having fought for 5 years between France, ex-Yugoslavia and Germany. He lives in the little village of Villagrande Strisaili, holder of the world record for men’s longevity. Michelino, together with other friends of over 80 years old, work out at the gym almost daily. Currently, there are over 300 centenarians and 600 ninety-year-olds in Sardinia. It’s easy to find witnesses from their era: born before the Great War, not only in Ogliastra, but also in Barbagia, Nuoro and in the province of Cagliari. Mr. Giuseppe Ignazio Boi was 8 years old when Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary entering World War I a hundred years ago. He has always worked as a shepherd, walking continuously without a break through the Dolianova mountains in his place of origin. 100-year-old Chiarina Lai lives at the crossroads of the same street, she has spent her entire life working in the fields. 101-year-old Giulio Podda worked as a stonemason, farmer and shepherd and he still enjoys a three-kilometer bike-ride every day. Therefore, the secret of longevity is based on a series of good habits and a healthy environment to live in, things that young people, especially from Western metropolises, have never been able to see. For this reason Mr. Roberto Pili has created the first school in the world for longevity in the Assemini municipality, to teach the new generations the basic ingredients that can help become an aspiring centenarian. Beginning with a healthy diet from genuine products and lessons in active aging: like a group of over 80 and 90 year olds that run a TV show specifically created for elderly people, by elderly people. They always reside in small villages in a pleasant living climate, where everybody knows each other and helps each other out. Amidst a thousand difficulties, fighting poverty and hunger resulting from war, they belong to an older generation who has learned not to complain and continue living their lives driven by strong motivations. Just like the Melis family, 101-year-old Vittorio Palmas Cazzài and his 95-year-old wife Giuseppa, who live in the village of Perdasdefogu, in the Ogliastra region. Former war prisoner in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, Vittorio survived only because he weighed 37 kilos and not 35, otherwise he would have been killed. After returning home, he started leading a simple life working as a shepherd and farmer in the mountains around his village. Vittorio and Giuseppa have been married for 69 years and they kiss each other every day just like a couple of teenagers. They believe this is one of the secrets for the elixir of life.

GOLDEN OLDIES (2015)