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  The Island of the Ancients
The Island of the Ancients
Secrets of Sardinia’s Centenarians
by Ben Hills, with photographs by Mayu Kanamori
In the middle of the Mediterranean Sea lies a small, remote rocky island which for millennia has been the battleground for the competing empires of the Phoenicians, the Cartheginians, the Romans, Catalans, and the Ottoman Turks. Today, Sardinia is best known as a peaceful sun-drenched holiday destination where in summer new invading hordes of Northern Europeans descend to enjoy the lobster, the lazy lifestyle and the sandy coves of the Costa Smeralda, the Aga Khan’s billionaires’resort. But there is another reason why this magical place has attracted attention from the world’s leading scientists: the people of Sardinia are among the longest-lived on earth – three times as likely to reach the remarkable milestone of 100 as the English, Americans, Australians or almost anyone else on earth.
The book takes you on a magical mystery tour of the island and its secret places. And it introduces you to some of the more exotic treats of the Sardinian diet - suckling pigs roasting on bonfires in the mountains, pasta sprinkled with the dried roe of the grey mullet, and the dreaded casu marzu, the infamous rotten cheese which literally leaps with live maggots. But our mission was more than a tourist expedition—we were here to ask these ancient people why they believed they had lived so long. And what secrets they were prepared to share with the rest of us mere mortals hoping, if not to live to 100, at least to gain a few extra years of active life. In all, we tracked down 24 people aged 99 and over, and we talked to them for hours about their lives, their lifestyles and their families - anything which may give us a clue to their extraordinary longevity.
Ben Hills

The Island of the Ancients is published by Pier 9, an imprint of Murdoch Books, in Australia and the United Kingdom. It will also be published in Brazil by Editora Prumo later this year.

The Island of the Ancients Book Cover The Island of the Ancients

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