The Melis siblings on the island of Sardinia are officially the world's oldest with nine brothers and sisters clocking up a total of 818 years between them, Italian newspapers reported on Tuesday.
The oldest sibling, Consolata, is 104 and has nine children, 24 grand-children and 25 great-grandchildren, the reports said, adding that the longevity of the Melis had been recognised as a Guinness World Record.
Consolata will turn 105 on Wednesday, the reports said, adding that the Guinness certification followed a seven-year review around the world.
The Melis are from the village of Perdasdefogu in the southeastern corner of the island, which has some of the oldest people in the world.
The next oldest are Claudia (99), Maria (97), Antonio (93), Concetta (91), Alfonso (89), Vitalio (86), Vitalia (81), and Mafalda (78).
Claudia still attends mass every week and Adolfo runs the local bar.
Luca Deiana, a professor of clinical biochemistry at the university of Sassari in Sardinia who has studied some 2,500 centenarians on the island since 1996 said the longevity of local inhabitants was due to various factors.
"On the one hand it is about genetics, about inherited longevity... but there is also the bounty of the land and the local fruit, particularly pears and prunes," he was quoted as saying by Corriere della Sera.
He also said strong local family traditions contributed to long life.
Alfonso says a healthy diet and staying active are the secrets to his family's longevity. "We eat genuine food, meaning lots of minestrone and little meat and we are always working," he said. Alfonso narrowly escaped being captured by the Nazis during World War II and today runs a cafe, despite the fact he is 89. "Every free moment I have I am down at my vineyard or at the allotment where I grow beans, egg plant, peppers, and potatoes."
Added his older sister Claudia: "You just keep working and you eat minestrone, beans, and potatoes."
Consolata, the oldest, said, "My grandchildren have washing machines, dishwashers, and vacuum cleaners, and when I hear them say, 'I am stressed.' I don't understand."
Professor Deiana says food is key. "A glass of red wine and chunk of sheep's cheese or goat's ricotta is the standard meal for these 100 year olds -- all genuine local food."