Even in a region with a high concentration of centenarians, the Sardinian village of Perdasdefogu is unique. The number of people aged 100 or more is 13 times Italy's national average. Already this year, five residents have turned 100 in celebrations that involve the whole town of 1,740, and 10 more could turn 100 within the next couple of years. While a sign at the literary festival says “Reading keeps you alive,” most credit the clean air, active life and sense of community. “Sociality is so important, because if you have good social contacts, you remember, talk and evaluate … you live well,” says 80-year-old journalist Giacomo Mameli, who organizes the literary festival.

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