Climbing the Elixir

Habits, food, love and challenges of the Sardinian centenarians of Ogliastra.


“…The most stimulating aspect of Climbing the Elixir is how in this case men are submitted to the territory and not vice-versa. Thereby merging with the isolation of the mountains between Baunei, Urzulei and Dorgali, following a simple and basic diet of pastoral products and facing the dangerous life of the steep mountains, inhabitants have turned into a vital outgrowth  of landscape, appropriating a portion of eternity possessed by nature and remained untouched over the centuries…”   Film review on TAXIDRIVERS.IT


“Climbing the Elixir tells the story of a beautiful and lost Sardinia through the lives of extraordinary characters” Director interview on TAXIDRIVERS.IT



In the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, there is a large island to which nature has given incredible beauty and charm. It is Sardinia. A place where the landscapes of rock and stone alternate forests and desert dunes that slope into a crystalline sea of changing colours, where the scent of helichrysum and cistus reach its visitors and welcome them in a warm and powerful embrace. Among its sub-regions, Ogliastra is certainly one of the most fascinating. A mountainous area whose limestone ridges create the famous Supramonte, a mountainous complex that plunges into one of the most beautiful seas in the world . In these rugged and wild mountains, two expert hikers have come to know about a characteristic local community that, in the past, developed a series of reckless climbing techniques without harnesses, strategic to manage their flocks of goats and pasture grazing, and useful to move from one point to another of this vast sub calcareous desert more quickly. Thanks to these climbing techniques they were also able find the little water that flowed hidden under the karstic rocks and even cultivate wheat in areas of seemingly unproductive mountains. Precisely in these places, where life is anything but easy, people lived and continue to live today, much longer than in the rest of the world and Ogliastra was therefore included among the 5 Blue Zones of the planet.
Our two hikers, in their exploration, will discover unexpected aspects of the lifestyle of this community and, interacting with the centenarians and their families, will learn about secrets related to their diet, their lifestyle and their social relationships in a place devoted to solitude and observation of nature, and among these they may just find the elixir of long life. Retracing the difficult and sometimes prohibitive paths designed by the goatherds, our two guides will then tell us the story of a special community that lives in one of the most fascinating places in the Mediterranean and the unique events of brave men, whose challenges with nature have created fantastic and enduring legends.



365 Trento Film Festival
Il Circolo della Confusione

Screened at:

Babylon Kino Berlin-Mitte
Apollo 11 – Roma
Postmodernissimo Perugia
Cinema Capuccini Genova
Theater Cinema Paradiso Folgaria TN
Teatro Eliseo of Nuoro
Teatro Massimo of Cagliari



Trento Film Festival 67esima
IsReal Film Festival – Nuoro
Fiorenzo Serra Film Festival – Sassari
Bansko Film Fest – BulgariaPrice:
Special Mention Fiorenzo Serra Film Festival


    Data Sheet

  • Production Produced by Circolo della Confusione
  • Co-Production ISRE Sardegna and co-funded by Film Commission Sardegna
  • Type Documentary
  • Genre Anthropology, Science, Travel, Mountain
  • Duration 80 min.
  • Language Italian, Sardinian language
  • Year 2019
  • Format 4K
  • Projection format DCP, Full HD
  • Audio Stereo
  • Subtitles Italian (OV), English (International Version)

Climbing the elixir Trailer