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Dwelling to 100: One island’s outstanding file of centenarians


This scene of residents gathered at an Italian café could not appear outstanding, till their ages; they’re every 100 years previous – and Guido Lepori says he is bought years to go: “At the least 150!” he informed correspondent Seth Doane.

Previous age is widespread, and celebrated, on this city, the place murals depict residents who’ve reached at the least 100.

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A mural honoring one in all Villagrande’s centenarians. 

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Villagrande is in Sardinia, a well known vacation spot for vacationers who come for the tradition and seashores. But it surely’s additionally drawing scientists and gerontologists, together with Gianni Pes, and Valter Longo, who directs the Longevity Institute on the College of Southern California, and who collaborates with Pes in finding out this phenomenon of so many centenarians.

“The entire world talks about this city,” Longo stated. “To have six centenarians out of two,000 or 3,000 folks, extraordinarily uncommon anyplace on the earth.”

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Tucked within the mountains of the Italian island of Sardinia is the village of Villagrande, the place researchers are finding out one of many highest focus of centenarians on the earth.

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“We’re looking for a proof,” stated Pes, “as a result of after 20 years of exhausting work, we nonetheless do not have a transparent rationalization.”

Villagrande is a spot the place, after 63 years of marriage, one can nonetheless discover Gabriele Mereu and his spouse, Ermelinda, tending their backyard.

Doane requested, “Are you all the time this energetic?”

“All the time, I’ve all the time labored,” this now-96-year-old informed us.

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Ninety-six-year-old Gabriele Mereu tends his backyard.

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So has his cousin Vittoria. At 93, she’s nonetheless employed by the Orlando Lodge to display the standard approach of constructing pistoccu bread.

Pes stated, “Ten p.c of people who find themselves born in Villagrande attain the age of 90. In Italy it is 3%. So, you possibly can think about it is greater than 3 times increased than the nationwide common.”

Longo thinks durations of fasting, as an example throughout wartime, adopted by a richer weight loss program (with extra protein and fats) in later years could contribute to longer lifespans. However assembly with these centenarians, he famous one thing else: the age of siblings.

Doane requested, “How a lot of that is genetics versus way of life?”

“If you consider an athlete that wins a lot of gold medals, you most likely should have the genetics,” Longo replied. “However then you must have the coaching, et cetera, et cetera. So, I believe that the genetics set you up, however they are not gonna get you there alone. So then, the approach to life, and significantly the meals, is a key issue.”

These way of life components are on show: residing up in these mountains means common train.

On the town, neighborhood and household is necessary, significantly for Marietta Monni, who lives alone at 100. Doane joined her for lunch, made by household residing within the house upstairs. On the menu: pasta with tomato sauce. Traditionally, greens have figured prominently right here. So has purple wine (imbibed sparsely).

Close by, at Giulia Pisanu’s home, we requested this centenarian what she thought the key to a protracted life could be. “Do not be jealous,” she replied. “And do not be envious.”

Recommendation that is probably not scientific, however like these celebrated on the partitions right here, it comes from the attitude and knowledge of age.

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Story produced by Robert Marston. Editor: George Pozderec. 



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