One of my favourite food and travel programs, Italy Unpacked, returns to our screens at 8.30pm on Thursday, 22 October 2015 on SBS.
Andrew Graham-Dixon and Giorgio Locatelli are back for an all-new as they journey along the west coast of Italy, exploring the history, culture, food, art and landscape of the diverse regions.
In the first episode, the pair travel Italy's west coast from top to bottom, starting their journey in Liguria, which is squeezed between rugged mountains and a beautiful rocky coastline that inspired the English Romantic poets. First stop is Genoa, once a great maritime republic that still displays its wealth in opulent Baroque palaces with their glamorous decor and splendid paintings by Van Dyke and Strozzi. Giorgio makes the simple dish that the city is famous for: a classic pesto Genovese. Then it's on to the Cinque Terre, a scattering of villages by the sea that are accessible almost solely by boat. The men stay off the tourist track as they move on to Tuscany and reveal a hidden gem of Renaissance art in Pistoia, along with one of Pisa's best-kept secrets. Finally they return to the sea in Livorno, where the fishermen's catch of the day dictates the menu.
The second leg of Andrew and Giorgio's journey down the west coast of Italy takes them to Lazio. Usually, this region's capital, Rome, takes center stage -- but not this time. The two explorers deliberately avoid the eternal city and discover the legacy of those who took refuge from the cauldron of city life and the politics of power and popes. The gardens of the Villa d'Este boast some incomparable fountains, while the tombs of the Etruscans are a haunting reminder of the people who were there before the ancient Romans. Giorgio just has to visit the beautiful city of Viterbo to find out more about the first papal conclave, which he remembers from school, and then it's time to treat Andrew to a meal fit for a pope with recipes from a historic cookbook. They end their trip in the south of Lazio at Latina, receiving a glimpse into what Italy might have become if one man had gotten his way.
The final stretch takes them to Campania and Calabria, on to Naples and Amalfi. Glorious viewing from beginning to end!
Coming to the screen at your place. Book your seats on the sofa!