of Cagliari, Sassari and number one modulation of frequency of the network of Sardinia. I'm 100 years and nine months old. I always worked in the fields and with livestock, the agriculture. There was nothing else to do at the time. Those were the only things, really. In life, you have to learn how to sacrifice. You need willpower. Someone who doesn't sacrifice has no willpower. And when someone is incapable of sacrificing, where does he end up? There isn't one single explanation for the Sardinian longevity phenomenon. Genetic and hereditary factors play a role, but the evidence lies more in the lifestyle, such as diet, for example, as well as physical activity, and the societal structure that some might define as "archaic." It's a complex phenomenon. And like all complex phenomena, you can't simplify it. If you look at our centenarians, you'll understand that they've always lived an extremely simple life with intense physical activity and a diet that is undoubtedly healthy, without processed foods. When one does something that they like to do, they're never thinking that they're getting old or something like that. They'll seem forever young. There is no single longevity elixir — this is a fundamental thing. I am 102 years old. [Longevity] doesn't just fall from the sky. It comes from our desire to want and to do. You can’t produce things like these anywhere else. Cheese, meat – everything. Desulo was a shepherding-only village. Desulo — at the very beginning — consisted of only three sheep pens. Yes, I've always worked very hard. There is no life without food. The Lord blessed us with bread because it was made during the winter. We were terrified with the cold that the bread would not rise. The wood was wet, and we couldn't light the oven. But we tried so hard. We lit it up. It was like flowers instead of bread. It was beautiful. About 20 years ago, I discovered this high concentration of elderly people. Not everywhere on the island, but particularly in the central area, where the mountains are, around a mountain called "Gennargentu," where I found many centenarians. I remember there were seven living centenarians in one of these villages. This was 10 years ago. It was an extraordinary number that immediately caught my attention. First, I built a database of all the centenarians in Sardinia. Luckily, in Sardinia, the state’s registries are very well kept. And it’s easy to determine when a person has actually reached 100 years of age. Isolation as a possible factor in longevity is a really interesting point. Isolation doesn't facilitate gene selection exclusively, but isolation does enable cultural preservation, those lifestyle elements and societal structure that got lost elsewhere because of more frequent exchanges with the outside world. These are some of the unique characteristics of the history of the Sardinian population. Centenarians are highly respected within their communities, so they develop a certain sense of fulfilment. If the eyes are indeed the mirror of the soul, the smile of a centenarian - above all - is the mirror of how well they lived.


Solving the Mystery of Sardinia's Super-Centenarians

This is a sample from our ‘Quit Cigarettes’ mission, which is currently live in the UK. Our goal is to increase the amount of people in the UK who quit cigarettes. Read more about our first mission here.

Ikaria is a mountainous Greek island, situated in the Aegean Sea. The inhabitants here are famous for their longevity, with many of them living comfortably into their late 90s. So what’s their secret? Is it something in the water? We spoke to locals to find out what they think helped them ripen into old age.