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Discover Italy with Alessandra Poli


Episode 1 – Sicily

Italian native Alessandra journeys through the mythological, vibrant, historical region of Sicily. First stop: Palermo to visit Unesco entity, Mimmo Cuticchio, puppeteer of the Pupi Siciliani, world famous Sicilian puppets. And if you’re craving Sicilian choir singing, Alessandra makes it happen with an epic trip to the last Saracin tower in the palace-museum of Countess Alwine Federico. Just 20 km away in Bagheria, she meets up with Michele Ducato, one of the few living artists of Sicilian cart paintings who learned the craft from her father. Along the way, Alessandra stops at Villa Valguarnera to meet The Princess Vittoria Alliata of Villafranca, who shares a story about the origin of vegetarian food hidden within her palace. Alessandra’s Sicily journey also leads to Trapani, set on the blue sea, to meet Platimiro Fiorenza, another Unesco entity, known for his passion in making extraordinary creations with rare Mediterranean Red Coral. Alessandra’s trail naturally leads to the Marco de Bartoli winery, set in a traditional “baglio” or local farmhouse in the country. For ruins, she stops at Selinunte on the southwest coast – the temples, acropolis and agora – are on par with the Greek sites. And finally, she checks out the beautiful Castelvetrano’s St.Donato church and joins the festivities of Sicily’s most spectacular historical parade, which re-enacts St Rita’s life and includes sumptuous costumes from the 1500s. 

Follow Alessandra as she seeks out the real Italy. All of which you can visit!

Episode 2 – Puglia

Alessandra heads to the land between two seas, the Ionic and Mediterranean, to visit Puglia. In Altamura, her first stop, she tries her hand at making ancient coarse grain bread and samples the best focaccia in town. The eating continues as she visits Vito Di Cecca and tastes his refined blue cheeses and traditional mozzarella and burrata, which he learned from his family before traveling the world at age 18 to share his passion for cheese with 64 different countries. It’s off to Alberobello in the Itria Valley, to view hundreds of Trulli, old white stone houses, and to meet one of the world’s few trullari, or builders, left: Giuseppe Micollis. Alessandra heads next to the coast of Polignano, entering Peppino Campanella’s Creative Center, where his lamp sculptures reflect the crystal clear water and scenery of the area. Then it’s off to Ostuni Plain, covered in millennial olive groves, to visit a local country house “Masseria,” complete with an ancient mill from Roman times. And finally, Alessandra heads to Sava, a small town not far from Taras, to meet an authentic luthier: Antonio Dattis, who fixes old instruments and invents new ones. 

Follow Alessandra as she seeks out the real Italy. All of which you can visit!

Episode 3 – Umbria

Alessandra heads to the verdant hills and picturesque villages of Umbria. First stop, Trevi, a small hilltop village carpeted in greenish grey olive trees, Alessandra meets Claudio Pinchi, who like his ancestors, makes organs for churches as well as brings ancient instruments back to life. Then it’s off to Assisi, one of Italy’s most famous cities, for front row seats to the most colorful and rich medieval festival! Up next, hidden in the the countryside of Terni province, Alessandra visits La Scarzuola, an architectural wonderland reflecting the esoteric beliefs of the Milanese architect Tommaso Buzzi, now updated by his nephew, Marco Solara. Then, it’s off to Perugia, to visit a 14th century palace to meet Maddalena Forenza, who, like the five generations before her, makes stained glass windows of rare beauty. And last, but certainly not least, Alessandra will visit a remote farm stay in Corciano, where Enrico Rufini, a doctor, will share his passion for traditional cooking with local ingredients. 

Episode 4 – Veneto

Alessandra heads to the Veneto region, made popular by the fabulous jewel of a city, Venice. What a better way to kick off the trip than to meet chef Gigi Cassan in the ancient market to buy fresh ingredients for the most lavish party in the world, “The Ballo del Doge.”  Set in a palace from the 1500s, Gigi’s dishes are enjoyed by eccentric guests in extravagant costumes. Next stop: Chiaoggia or “little Venice,” where Alessandra strolls the canals, visits the fish market and watches Giorgio Boscolo make a local handcrafted clay pipe. Then she heads to the island of Murano where Gino Seguso, the son of one the greatest glass artists of the XIX century, shares his family’s passion for the traditional work. And finally, it’s off to see Raffaele Dessì, who left his job as an architect to dedicate himself to studying and re-enacting historical dances.

Follow Alessandra as she seeks out the real Italy. All of which you can visit!

Episode 5 – Abruzzo

Alessandra heads to Abruzzo to experience a region that foreign and Italian tourists know little about. First stop, Castelli, to visit with Vincenzo Di Simone and his son Antonio, who keep the ceramic tradition of the town alive in their fascinating workshop. Off to Chieti, one of the oldest cities in Italy, to attend Saint Friday’s Procession, where locals dress in mourning to celebrate the death of Christ, accompanied by 150 violinists and a choir. The medieval town of Guardiagrele is the next stop, which includes a visit with Raffaele Di Prinzio, 75-year-old goldsmith who still carries on his family’s tradition. Alessandra heads next to the Adriatic coast, to visit with Rinaldo Verì, who keeps a traditional fishing technique alive, using bizarre wood structures called “trabocchi.” Finally, Alessandro meets artist, Ettore Altieri, who lives and works in a magical place that inspires his work. Along the way, Alessandra even tries his foraged truffles from the surrounding woods. 

Follow Alessandra as she seeks out the real Italy. All of which you can visit!

Episode 6 – Lazio

Alessandra heads to Lazio to explore Rome and its magnificent surroundings. If you’re hankering to see the life of Italian royals, Alessandra ventures into Palazzo Colonna where the Prince Colonna and his family have lived for centuries. Off to meet eccentric artist, Luigi Serafini, who invented a language to describe his fantasy world! Next stop: Viterbo, a perfect day trip destination, to meet Marco Guglielmi and tour his ancient mint, where he makes handmade coins like they did in the Middle Ages. Her trail leads next to Oriolo Romano, another beautiful village, where local chef, Andrea Cagnetti, guides Alessandra through a ghost village immersed in a natural park and shares her delicious food full of tradition, innovation and local ingredients. Finally, she heads to Genazzano, a small village set on a verdant hill 50 km from the capital to meet Gianni Berardi, a leather artisan whose love for the traditional and regional music led him to build his own instrument, the Tamburella, now famous all over Italy. Time to dance the night away with Gianni and his band as they play their entrancing music.

Episode 1 (S2) – Alto Adige

This is a journey into the dramatic landscapes of the Dolomites with its enchanting castles and charming towns, such as its capital, Bolzano.

Wood is the primary ingredient of Judith Sotriffer’s and Aron Demetz’s art. Judith keeps tradition alive through her wooden dolls, while Aron represents innovation and modernity with his creations. Alessandra visits two medieval castles, valuable testimony to the local history and culture. The Diocesan Museum of Bressanone is a precious example of regional art and architecture. An exploration of Alto Adige’s culinary gems includes tasting the creative and delicious sheep’s recipes of chef, Oskar Messner, in the breathtaking and unspoiled Funes Valley and explores another family’s innovative approach to Gin made with local herbs. Local farmers, winemakers, and artisans are also featured in the episode giving a comprehensive overview of the local culture.

Episode 2 (S2) – Campania

Experience enticing Naples with a trip off the beaten path and visiting the studios of unique craftsmanship preserved for generations. Anna and her siblings give life to the Nativity scenes’ characters using embroidery techniques from the 1700’s. In the National Railway Museum visitors are taken back to the mid-19th century. Pasquale’s cameos, carved from seashells in a painstakingly miniature form, bear witness to tradition.  Alessandra tastes some local pastries and uncovers the secret of baba by following Giovanni into his kitchen. An exploration of Campania’s culinary gems also includes tasting wine made at the foot of Vesuvius by a young and innovative wine maker accompanied with the famous Pizza Napolitana. Alessandra, watches an artisan making a hand-made umbrella, his family’s tradition since 1860. A snorkeling tour is part of the visit to the Archeological and Marine park of La Gaiola.

Episode 3 (S2) – Molise

Full of wild beauty, captivating traditions, fascinating history, Molise is an undiscovered gem for many tourists. The Marinelli Pontifical Bell Foundry is the oldest, family-owned and run manufacturing company in the world, where bells are still handmade as 1000 years ago. The Italic sanctuary of Pietrabbondante and the archeological site of Atilia Sepino are a plunge into pre-Roman history.  Alessandra meets a cheesemaker who follows the family tradition started in 1662 

Episode 4 (S2) – Tuscany

Experience the enticing city at Italy’s center and its unique craftsmanship preserved since the Medici era. In Florence, the mosaicist, Renzo Scarpelli, takes Alessandra along the Arno river where he collected the stones used to make marvelous stone “paintings”. The stylist, Stefano Ricci, saved a fascinating silk factory of the 1700’s from oblivion. Among its looms there is one by Leonardo Da Vinci. Palazzo Borghese will surprise the viewers for its richness and grandeur. To taste the renowned “Cantucci” biscuits, Alessandra will meet the Lunardi brothers who will share their secret recipe with her. Together they will visit local producers, such as a Vin Santo wine maker and an old mill. After a stop in Lucca, an architectural wonder also known for its musical tradition. Alessandra will share the ancient tradition of marble processing with a gifted artisan from the medieval city Pietrasanta.

Episode 5 (S2) – Basilicata

Matera is certainly one of the most unusual and memorable tourist destinations in Italy, but this almost unknown region has much more to offer. Medieval villages, abandoned hamlets, otherworldly landscapes and incredible festivals. In Tricarico Alessandra takes part in a colorful and peculiar Carnival, which recalls pastoral traditions. Alessandra meets Annangela, an impassioned embroider who creates unique works with thread and who opened a small costume museum to keep the local traditions alive. In his 40s Gerardo transformed his life to save his grandfather’s vineyard. Today he makes the great Aglianico del Vulture wine. 

Acerenza is one of the 50 most beautiful towns in Italy. Here Antonio Saluzzi uses ancient Greek and Roman foundry techniques for his art. Mario Daddiego’s nativity scenes, set in the Matera’s Sassi, are a wonder and precise down to the smallest detail. Matera is not just ancient history as a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Sculpture proves.

Episode 6 (S2) – Sardinia

A paradise of sandy beaches and rocky bays with pure turquoise water, this is the Island of Sardinia, but there is also an endless list of archeological sites and endearing eccentricities to discover. In Cagliari, Alessandra visits the Cathedral, a treasure trove of art and history before meeting a goldsmith who reinterprets the traditional Sardinian jewelry. The “Sound Garden” is an unusual open-air museum, because as Maria shows, the stones resound. On the attractive island of Sant Antioco, Chiara Vigo weaves with sea silk, collected from seashells. The fascinating history of the town is visible in 12th-century catacombs. Saint Peter is famous for the ancient practice of tuna fishing, which left its mark on the island. Inland, Alessandra explores Iglesias and its mining district which features spectacular natural caves and fascinating mining galleries set just above sea level. An old train takes her and her chaperon Luciano, back in time. The spectacular Capo Pecora inspires a lawyer whose passion is to make swimwear.

Follow Alessandra as she seeks out the real Italy. All of which you can visit!

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