In Sardinia, and even more in Ogliastra, one of the five international blue zones, the number of people aged over ninety and in good health and good mental and physical shape is decidedly higher than average in the rest of the world. It isn’t just a question of genetic make-up. Other things that come into play are genuine food, made like it was in the past, the natural environment, the cultural and social context and the value of shared, handed-down 'memories’ of the past.
When travelling around Sardinia you will meet them more or less everywhere, in the village squares, along the paths around the hamlets where they stroll in company, or busy in the vineyards and vegetable gardens. However, it is in the special moments of community life that you will get to know their innate sense of welcome and hospitality, during festivals, traditional celebrations and itinerant events, like Autumn in Barbagia or Spring in the heart of the Island, that liven up the inland villages.
On these festive occasions, you will see them, along with the new generations, dabbling with their art, the expression of culture and civilisation that they guard with pride. They are masters of improvised poetry, refined musicians playing instruments that have been around since the dawn of time, like the launeddas, and still today, since Antiquity, they bring us the canto a tenore, proclaimed a ‘Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’. ...and if their art goes straight to your heart, you will feel yourself loving their stories of simple life seasoned with ancient wisdom.
According to science, Sardinia’s centenarians and people enjoying longevity have a vital balance that also depends on how they identify with their own culture, language and the traditions that they spontaneously pass on to the new generations, who proudly make them their own. This great legacy of art, culture and civilisation is still alive in fairly hidden places and it would be a shame to leave Sardinia without discovering it.