A land of natural monuments and dreamy seas, with one-of-a-kind excursions, like the Selvaggio Blu (Wild Blue) trekking route that touches the marvellous Goloritzè and Mariolu, or those that offer the spectacular canyon of Gorropu, the deepest in Europe, the entire route of which is accessible internally, from the Supramonte of Urzulei to that of Orgosolo. Then there are the trails for bikers and hikers, along the ridges of the jurassic Buttes and the valleys with ghost villages. Places out of the ordinary and inhabited by people known for their longevity, including centenarians, who are more numerous and in good health here than elsewhere.
They live in the villages of the Supramonte mountain range, on the eastern slopes of Gennargentu and Barbagia di Seui, but many of them also live by the sea, in the little villages along the Ogliastra coast, from Tertenia to Santa Maria Navarrese. The pine forests running alongside the beaches, sheltered from the wind, are a daily gym for them, where they get their fill of social interaction and wellness in the open air. They meet in small groups, talk and exchange stories while they walk, breathing in the sea air and enjoying the sun, which is warm even in winter.
If you were to ask them how they eat to stay so fit, they would say “we eat right”, adding that, there is always a glass of Cannonau wine at the table and, at the end of the meal, a glass of liqueur made from myrtle berries, picked during their autumn walks. There’s no doubt that the sea, land and healthy air can only bring genuine foods, but here, they have the intense flavours and original taste of the pastoral world of the past. You can taste them all clearly. Close your eyes and try some culurgiones and casu axedu, the miraculous ancestral yoghurt incredibly rich in probiotics.
However, good food, physical activity in the open air, social ties and identity values are not enough to become one of the five blue zones in the world. Something that also comes into play is the DNA, with few mutations, of people who have, by force of circumstance, lived in isolation. If this is true for Sardinia, where there are plenty of centenarians, it is even more so for Ogliastra, considered an island within the island. This is how it was described by English travellers in the 19th century, who arrived in Arbatax after crossing places described as a world unto itself, suspended in time. The same wealth of emotions is still present in the carriages of the Trenino Verde tourist train. Are you ready to go?