This paper describes an epidemiological study performed in all centenarians living in Sardinia, a large island located in the Mediterranean sea, 120 Km from the Italian coast. Due to its long-standing isolation, low immigration rate, high endogamy and rather uniform lifestyle, Sardinia offers an ideal setting in which to study the genetic traits associated with extreme longevity and successful aging. A total of 233 potentially eligible centenarians were traced in the entire territory. Of these, 66 died prior to being interviewed, 11 were not found and unknown, and 15 refused to be interviewed. A multidimensional home interview was administered to 141 centenarians, and an equivalent number of 60-year-old controls matched for gender and area of residence. Furthermore, 41 living siblings of the centenarians, and 41 age- and sex-matched controls for these siblings were also studied. The prevalence of centenarians was 13.56 per 100,000, and the female/male ratio was approximately 2. Prevalence and female/male ratio were consistent across the four Sardinian municipalities and are, respectively, higher and lower than those reported in other population-based surveys. A number of methodological problems confronted in doing the field work, and plans for future analysis of this rich dataset are discussed.