Acciaroli: The Tiny Italian Hamlet Bottling Youth

In partnership withNo1 Rosemary Water

This article appears in Volume 24: The Slow Issue.

Slow, meditative and immersive travel allows us to refine our lifestyles, adopting healthy or life-affirming habits and importing them back into our daily lives. Consequently when it emerged in 2016 that more than one in ten inhabitants of the tiny Italian hamlet of Acciaroli in Salerno lived to be over 100 years old, travellers and scientists alike began wondering what we could learn from them.

"When we reported our population statistics to the Italian government, they were convinced we had got something wrong," says mayor Stefano Pisani. "But we have known for a long time that there's something special about Acciaroli and its residents."

After six months of research, the truth emerged. As lovers of tobacco, wine and food, there was nothing spartan about the Acciaroli way of life. Instead researchers identified rosemary as the secret ingredient added to the otherwise classically Mediterranean diet of this sleepy fishing town. Residents chew rosemary raw, toss it into virtually every dish and consume the local herb in large quantities.

Inspired by the rosemary-rich diet of these weather-worn centenarians, avid traveller David Spencer-Percival set out on a quest to bottle this secret to their longevity. Working with botanical scientists in a pioneering extraction process, Spencer-Percival sought to preserve the goodness of this wonder herb by adding nothing but pure rosemary extract to sparkling spring water.

The result is a true taste of Campania - bubbles that dance on the tongue while the fragrant, gently medicinal notes of rosemary refresh the senses. Clinical trials show that the benefits have been bottled too. "The results of this research show there are statistically reliable improvements in memory function thanks to the ingestion of No 1 Rosemary Water," says Dr Mark Moss. "The shots act like a turbocharger for the brain."

So while it might not be possible to bottle the Acciaroli lifestyle entirely, it seems you can bottle some of the benefits.

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