Andrew Graham-Dixon Art critic, journalist, TV presenter, author, lecturer and educationalist.
Andrew Graham-Dixon Art critic, journalist, TV presenter, author, lecturer and educationalist.

ITALY UNPACKED TWO

Andrew Graham-Dixon and Giorgio Locatelli return for a third roadtrip through their beloved Italy. This time they are travelling down the west coast of the country - from top to toe - and stepping off the tourist track wherever they go. Culture and cuisine go hand in hand as they discover the maritime powers of the north-west, reveal that the region of Lazio has far more to offer than just it's capital, Rome, and finish in Italy's 'Wild West' - the Mezzogiorno from Naples to Calabria and the South.

 

Episode One - In the Footsteps of the Poets
Beginning in Liguria, a region bordered by mountains and a beautiful rocky coastline which inspired the English Romantic poets, Andrew Graham-Dixon and Giorgio Locatelli travel along the west coast of Italy, exploring the culture and cuisine of the diverse regions. Their first stop is the city of Genoa, once a great maritime republic, whose former glory is reflected it its opulent Baroque palaces with their imposing facades, glamorous decor and splendid paintings by artists such as van Dyck and Bernardo Strozzi. In contrast to these grand statements of wealth, Giorgio makes the simple dish that the city is famous for - pesto alla genovese. The two travellers then move on to the Cinque Terre, a rugged portion of coastline featuring a national park and five picturesque villages seemingly wedged into the cliff face beside sea. Finally, Andrew and Giorgio cross over into Tuscany and, managing to stay off the tourist trail, visit a hidden gem of Renaissance art in Pistoia and one of Pisa's best-kept secrets. They finish back by the sea at the port city of Livorno, where the fishermen's catch of the day dictates the menu.

 

Episode Two - A Home away from Rome
The second leg of Andrew Graham-Dixon and Giorgio Locatelli's journey down the west coast of Italy finds them in Lazio, a region whose capital Rome has always taken centre stage - but not this time. The two deliberately avoid the eternal city and discover the legacy of those who took refuge away 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 here 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 learning about in school, and then it is 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, a glimpse into what Italy might have become if one man had got his way.

 

Episode Three - In the Heat of the Day
The final stretch of Andrew Graham-Dixon and Giorgio Locatelli's journey takes them all the way down to the toe of Italy and the southern regions of Campania and Calabria. Invaders and foreign empires have shaped the culture and cooking here over millennia, making this Italy's most exotic area. First stop Naples, a city unlike anywhere else in the country or the world, attracting visitors for centuries with its vibrant street life and Baroque masterpieces. Further down the coast Amalfi and Paestum reveal outside influences that date back millennia, and then it is on to Italy's Wild West, Calabria, with its extraordinary, untouched countryside and art.

 

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