How to live to 100?

Province of Ogliastra, Sardinia, Italy

Giacobba Lepori, 104 years old

Villagrande, province of Ogliastra, Sardinia, Italy

I always dress entirely in black and I wear a black veil because my husband is dead and tradition is that a widow dresses this way. I don’t know what will happen when I reach the end of my life. No-one knows, but I do not fear death.

Natale Lotto, 88 years old

Villagrande, province of Ogliastra, Sardinia, Italy

As a shepherd I have always been very poor and I have had a hard life. I spent my life walking outdoors, day and night, good times and bad. Like most shepherds in Sardinia, I began working very young and I never had much education. That is why it is difficult for me to express myself with ease when journalists come to ask me questions. What’s more, I find myself ugly in photos, I look old.

All that to say that I am generally satisfied with my life. Each morning I feed the animals; it makes me happy to work a little and stay occupied. We must keep working for as long as we can. I was gardening today for example. We grow everything: potatoes, beans, zucchinis, tomatoes, everything. My garden feeds six of my relatives’ households.

 

Luigina Loi, 90 years old

Villagrande, province of Ogliastra, Sardinia, Italy

I was 29 when my husband died and I have never let another man enter my house. Love does not interest me, and it has never interested me. When my husband is dead, all men are dead.

 

Barbara Orrù, 85 years old

Villagrande, province of Ogliastra, Sardinia, Italy

I have worked so hard in my life that it has cost me my health. My body is so used up that now I have trouble walking. I was a household mother and a farmer and I never stopped. My husband and I were like rabid lions, working without respite. It was not uncommon for me to go to sleep at 3 in the morning after finishing my work for the day.

I would have liked to live more calmly, but I am never calm. There are 30 people that I have to think about. I am always worried. Especially in this world that has changed so much. Young peoples’ obsession with their phones bothers me. Computers have ruined the lives of these poor children.
We used to always be happy, we sang. Today, no one sings anymore. The children have everything and yet they are never satisfied.

 

Giulia Pisano, 95 years old

Villagrande, province of Ogliastra, Sardinia, Italy

I have never been married myself as it was not my destiny. As the war was on when I was a girl, I preferred to stay single because I was afraid of becoming a widow. Since I have no children it is my nieces that look after me. Every day one of my nieces comes by to help around the house and to keep me company.
 

 

Michelino Scudo, 98 years old

Villagrande, province of Ogliastra, Sardinia, Italy

I thoroughly enjoyed being a judge at the Miss Italia competition. The girls all kissed me and that made me very happy! The contestants were all beautiful, but I particularly liked number 2 and number 7. I have always loved women, and I love them still. 

Some women are beautiful and some are ugly but one must nevertheless be polite and respectful with them.
In Sardinia the women work intensely. On top of farm work they cook, clean, tidy, etc. all while the men are relaxing and reading the newspaper. If you ask me they deserve a Nobel prize. Woman is a marvel! Long live women!

 

Dario Loi, 88 years old

Villagrande, province of Ogliastra, Sardinia, Italy

The secret to longevity? Water, cheese and wine! I am retired but, as my pension is insufficient, I am still a farmer. I grow a bit of everything and I have a few pigs. I also cultivate some vines as I love a glass of wine while eating. I get the impression that to go far in life one needs a little wine. That is my humble advice. I don’t drink too much, but I won’t turn down a glass or two at meals. Thanks to God, I have had a glorious life. Everything is going very well for me. I get along well with my wife, we look after the farm, we go to the sea often, we go on little trips, we visit churches. And even if I am a little old man I have lost none of my passion in bed!

 

Elvira Iba, 84 years old

Villagrande, province of Ogliastra, Sardinia, Italy

When I was younger life was harder, and yet I think it was more beautiful than nowadays. There was a lot of affection between people, we loved each other very much and we understood one another. I made many sacrifices in my life and I worked hard, but always with love, contentment and gratitude. I was never jealous or envious. When a thing is beautiful, I admire it. I compliment it. I don’t desire it, because it is useless. What I have is enough. I have nothing, yet I have everything. I have love. The love of my husband and my grandchildren and that is all that matters.

 

Angelo Mulas, 99 years old

Villagrande, province of Ogliastra, Sardinia, Italy

Although I have no children, I have seven nieces and nephews who take turns taking care of me. Every day of the week I either sleep over at one of their homes or one of them will sleep over at my home and take care of me.
All in all I have done nothing with my life except a few miserable jobs. I do not believe in love nor happiness nor humanity. I don’t believe I will be of much help to your project either.

 

HOW TO LIVE to 100?


Arianne Clément
Photography of the elderly