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. The area is also famous for olive oil and we experience the olive harvest at Pornanino. 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. The episode ends on the captivating coast of Tuscany in Maremma with a stunning ride with the butteri (cowboys).
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. Alessandro Volpetti takes Kathy on a tour of the new Testaccio market as well as his family deli Volpetti. Then the di Felice brothers, owners of Da Enzo, teach Kathy to make Rome's famous dish Cacio e Pepe. Then we get "the scoop" on gelato making with Gelateria del Teatro ai Coronari. Noted street artist Alice Pasquini shows us her work, a modern contrast to ancient frescoes. The episode ends at Palazzo Brancaccio with an historic ball performed by Campagna Nazionale di Danza Storica.
Umbria has long loomed in the shadow of neighboring Tuscany but visits to Assisi and Perugia introduce the viewers to the rich treasures of this region. In Perugia, we meet two women carrying on their family traditions -- Maddalena Forenza creating stained glass and Marta Cucchia and her handmade textiles. Just outside Perugia, at the Perugina Chocolate School, chocolate maestro Massimiliano Guidubaldi teaches Kathy to make the famous Baci candy. Then it is into the countryside around Montefalco to visit the ultra-modern winery Tenuta Castelbuono and learn about the local Sagrantino grape with Marco Caprai at the Arnaldo Caprai vineyard. Kathy enjoys a cooking lesson with Chef Salvatore Denaro. We are then off to a goat cheese farm to meet Diego Calcabrina and his goats and then it is time to harvest precious saffron and forage for greens with Marta Giampiccolo.
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 we visit Rubinacci for an inside look. Kathy attends pizza school with Master Enzo Coccia and learns it isn't easy to make a perfect pizza. A visit to Via San Gregorio Armeno reveals a street full of Christmas creches and caricatures. Mount Vesuvius looms large over life here and we venture into the crater with guide Roberto Addeo. In the shadow of Vesuvius we enjoy a local folk music performance before venturing to the Amalfi Coast. We visit some very special vines at Tenuta San Francesco, learn how to make paper at Amatruda in the town of Amalfi, learn to make limoncello with a local, watch a cooking demonstration with Chef Christoph Bob at Monastero Santa Rosa and go fishing with local Costabile Laudano.
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. Then it is time to attend the World Truffle Auction where the bidding gets frenzied for these rare tubers. 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 mache and we see how nativity scene figures are crafted at Cartapesta Claudio Riso. Pasticiotto is the favorite local pastry and pastry chef Luca Capilungo gives Kathy a pastry lesson. 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 pizzico in celebration of the harvest. A local mama teaches Kathy to make orecchiette (pasta) and taralli (biscuits). Alberobello is famous for its classic cone-shaped houses (trulli) and we learn the history of them. In seaside Monopoli, Kathy's friend Antonello Losito introduces her to an old man who makes beautiful model boats.
There is simply no other place in the world like Venice. Host Kathy McCabe takes a gondola rowing lesson from an 8th-generation gondolier. She learns how Venice is fighting rising water levels with a special ecology tour. Kathy meets an impiraressa - a bead stringer - who is bringing Venice's ancient art into modern times. Chef Riccardo takes Kathy to Venice's 1000-year old Rialto Market and teaches her how to cook up some eel. Plus much more...
Bologna is one of Italy's lesser-known big cities but is one of its more charming. Known for its cuisine (this is where Italians go to eat) and as home to the oldest university in the western world. It's also the center of Italy's "motor valley" and host Kathy McCabe gets a test drive in a lamborghini. Not only does she learn how to make Bologna's famous tortellini but she attends Gelato University, yes it is real. Kathy and her friend Alessandro head for the Bologna Hills, La Dolce Vita-style in a convertible and meet the nonna (grandmother) who makes some of the best ragu in the world. Plus much more...
Florence is known for its Renaissance art and architecture. But the city isn't stuck in the past, it is always evolving. Host Kathy McCabe gets to see the restoration of the Duomo from a unique perspective-a crane. She visits the only Last Supper painted by a woman - a Renaissance nun nonetheless - and she shows how it is being brought to life. Florence is also home to modern street artist Clet Abraham and Kathy joins him for an artistic caper of sorts. There are fresco-making and cooking lessons and a unique, historic boat trip on the Arno River. Plus much more...
Just two hours from Rome, but a world away, the region of Abruzzo is filled with mountains, national parks and beautiful beaches. Host Kathy McCabe takes viewers from coast to countryside. She catches her lunch in nets on an historic fishing hut before listening to traditional music with a modern twist. In Sulmona, Kathy sees how the famous confetti (candy-covered almonds) are made and heads to a farm for some unusual donkey therapy. Plus much more....
Basilicata with Francis Ford Coppola
Deep in the south of Italy, the region of Basilicata is timeless and otherworldly. It is home to one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, Matera, a city of caves. Hollywood director Francis Ford Coppola introduces host Kathy McCabe to his ancestral hometown of Bernalda and talks about how he rediscovered his Italian roots and opened a hotel here. Kathy digs for clams on the coast, learns to make mozzarella with a very special treat inside and learns about the difficult past of this beautiful land. Plus much more...
Castelvetere Sul Calore (Italian Ancestry)
Ten percent of Americans have some Italian blood and many of them could qualify for Italian citizenship by birth. Host Kathy McCabe travels to the ancestral village of her maternal great-grandfather -Castelvetere sul Calore in the region of Campania - to trace her roots and see if she can qualify for citizenship by blood line. This has always been a place of mystery and miracles for her family. Kathy takes part in an ancient procession honoring the town's patron saint Madonna delle Grazie. Her visit is full of surprises and the kind of magic that can only take place in southern Italy.