Cent’anni – “May you live for 100 years”
By Rosario Mariani, http://www.europebychoice.com
A favorite toast among Italians at a wedding, or at any of life’s happy occasions, is Salute e Cent’anni – “may you live for 100 years.” And in Italy, there is a good chance that in Italy, you might very well reach 100 years old – and possibly more!
Sardinia has the world’s highest recorded percentage of people who have eclipsed a century. Montemaggiore Belsito, in the province of Palermo in Sicily, celebrating your 100th birthday is a very common occurrence.
However, in the town of Acciaroli, in the province of Salerno just south of the Amalfi Coast, there is a population of 2,000 inhabitants. Of those 2,000, 300 of them have reached the age of 100, and 60 of them are pushing 110 and enjoying it.
Is it the Mediterranean diet, wine, olive oil, herbs, fish, climate, location, low-stress, and long walks? The answer is: all the above (as well as the Italian way-of-life).
Ernest Hemingway frequently visited Acciaroli, which played a partial role in inspiring him to write The Old Man and the Sea.
One ingredient in their diet is rosemary – it grows everywhere, is used to flavor their dishes and its use prevents diseases like Alzheimer,as well as improves blood flow to the brain. Another ingredient in their diets are anchovies, which are high in Omega 3 and are equally as effective in preventing heart and cardiovascular diseases.
On a recent visit to Cetara, on the Amalfi Coast, just 50 miles north of Acciaroli, I saw the locals placing their catch of anchovies in a small wooden barrel and putting a heavy weight on it. The pressure, over a long period of time, allowed the oils of the fish to drip into a container, which they called la colatura. A few drops of this fish oil added to any salad or to any main dish is all you need to get your daily dose of the amazing omega 3.
It seems that the fountain of youth is in Acciaroli! I wonder if the 110 year olds still complain that their 85 year old kids are still disrespectful after all these years?
Rosario Mariani is the owner/CEO of Europe By Choice, which promotes travel to Italy and other select European countries. He has more than 40 years of experience in the travel industry, previously serving as Director of Italy Product for Italiatour and Club ABC Tours, and also in other positions with EuroFly, Alitalia and Air France.