Maria Carrus looks inquisitively into the photographer's lens. And that’s despite the fact that she's been on the planet at least two and a half times as long as her counterpart. The centenarian’s thirst for knowledge is an attitude that demonstrates how to grow old successfully.
The centenarians of Sardinia
Alongside some others living on Sardinia, Maria Carrus is one of the people who are among the longest living of our era. She was born in September 1916 and is 103 years old. The Italian island is one of the regions on a list of so-called “Blue Zones”. These zones are regions where a particularly large number of people live beyond the average life expectancy. The concept is based on the work of demographer Marcel Poulain and Sardinian academic Gianni Pes. So, what is it that contributes to a long life?
“First and foremost, it is people’s verve and vigour, their eye for details, and the modesty with which they allow themselves to grow old gracefully,” explains Luigi Corda. “I see them as a fountain of wisdom.” The Sardinian photographer has been collecting portraits of Sardinia’s oldest inhabitants for several years. During this process, he has found out a few things about himself, too.
“No matter who I meet, be it Maria or Giuseppe, they all approached me with a certain degree of curiosity. They were also excited by the Porsche. They are probably the last people alive to have witnessed the transition from the old donkey-drawn carts to the car,” smiles Corda. “When I pulled up in the 911 Speedster and Giuseppe spotted me, he couldn’t wait to take a look. Sardinia and its inhabitants are really special,” explains Corda, who was keen to head back to Sardinia as quickly as possible after a quick detour to the Italian city of Milan.
“The landscape is unique and so diverse. Exploring my home with the new Speedster makes it even more fun. You can even drive through the entire island of Sardinia without encountering a single traffic light,” says Corda enthusiastically. “The Miami Blue paintwork blends perfectly with the island. It essentially reflects the entire landscape. The emerald green water, the blue zone.” And the centenarians’ lust for life, too.
The term “Blue Zone” originates from the work of Pes and Poulain, who travelled through the Sardinian region of Ogliastra and marked their map with a blue circle around every area where they encountered a large number of particularly old people. As well as Sardinia, Okinawa (Japan), the Nicoya peninsula (Costa Rica), Ikaria (Greece) and Loma Linda (California, USA) are now classed as “Blue Zones”. The author Dan Buettner claims that people in “Blue Zones” share a number of common attributes related to nutrition, physical activity and social life.