With its mesmerizing landscapes, rich artistic treasures, deep ties to the past and warm people, it’s no wonder many people dream of Italy more than any other destination in the world. Join Italian travel expert Kathy McCabe as she explores six diverse areas of Italy through their cuisine, art, history and culture and how its inhabitants continue and preserve the traditions of their families and ancestors for generations.
We start in the heart of Tuscany – Chianti – with a visit to Castello di Ama to learn how true Chianti wine is made and see the modern art that makes up the estate. Nearby, Kathy meets the very special cashmere goats that Nora Kravis raises at Chianti Cashmere Farm. At Busatti in Anghiari, we watch 100-year-old looms craft fine fabrics. Then it is off to Panzano for a wild boar hunt with the La Squadra Chiantigiana and a visit with philosophical butcher Dario Cecchini.
Romans have been making mosaics for thousands of years and artisan Nadia Ridolfini teaches Kathy the ancient craft. Food markets like the Campo dei Fiori are a vital part of daily life and Alessandro Volpetti takes Kathy on a tour of the new Testaccio market as well as his family deli Volpetti. From learning to make Rome's famous Cacio e Pepe and getting "the scoop" at the Gelateria del Teatro ai Coronari, Kathy learns to do as the Romans do as the sun sets on her day in the Eternal City.
Umbria has long loomed in the shadow of neighboring Tuscany but visits to Assisi and Perugia show all the treasures of the region. In Perugia, we see how stained glass is made before venturing out to the countryside around Montefalco to visit the Tenuta Castelbuono winery. Kathy later enjoys a cooking lesson with Chef Salvatore Denaro before going to the farm for harvest season.
Neapolitans are serious about their coffee and we visit the historic Gran Caffe Gambrinus to taste what some say is the best espresso in the city. Naples is also famous for its tailoring tradition and its pizza as Kathy visits Rubinacci and learns how to make the best pizza with Master Enzo Coccia. Later visiting the Amalfi coast, Kathy learns how to make limoncello with a local and receives a cooking demo with chef Christoph Bob at Monastero Santa Rosa.
Piedmont is the land of truffles and wine. Kathy tries to get truffle hunters Natale and Giorgio Romagnolo to reveal their secret hunting grounds, then tastes the precious white truffles they find. We visit Cascina Bruciata vineyard to learn about the hearty Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera wines that are produced in Piedmont. Piedmont is also home to hot springs and Kathy goes to Lago delle Sorgenti to find out about the unique medicinal qualities of these baths. We also visit Lake Iseo in the region of Lombardy to see fine Italian boat making – from masters big and small – at Riva yachts and a small fishing boat maker on Monte Isola.
Local Tonino Benincasa gives Kathy an introduction to the Baroque city of Lecce with a classic car ride. Lecce is famous for its paper maché and we see how nativity scene figures are crafted at Cartapesta Claudio Riso. Outside Lecce, in the town of Squinzano, Kathy meets the locals and gets a ride in a tiny Ape car to an olive mill where locals are dancing the pizzica in celebration of the harvest.