Giorgio Locatelli and Andrew Graham-Dixon have visited various parts of Italy in this programme which focuses on both history and food – a wondrous combination! The three-part series which has just been shown covered Lombardy, Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna, three parts of northern Italy which don’t tend to get the attention they deserve. We got an interesting balance of cities – Milan, Turin, Parma, Bologna, Ferrara, Modena – and rural areas, including quite a bit about some of the old medieval pilgrimage routes. I always find pilgrimage routes fascinating: they were the tourist trails of their day! Or maybe more like the backpacker trails of their day – people just upping sticks and taking themselves off to “find themselves” or “discover inner peace” or whatever. I’m always rather jealous of people who do that. Although I’m never sure how they afford it!
I haven’t got a lot to say about this, because there’s not much point in my writing a list of the main tourist attractions of the area or a list of the food particularly associated with the different parts of it :-), but it’s always enjoyable to watch. I probably spend too much time thinking about food, but it does fascinate me how different types of food are associated with different places, and with different times of year. And Italy is wonderful! All those stunning buildings, and all that … er, food! After reading Eat, Pray, Love, I decided that the idea of spending four months in Italy to try to put your head together was one of the best ones I’d ever heard. Improve your spoken Italian? Go to Serie A matches? It sounded amazing. Then the author said that she’d put on over 3 stone whilst she was there. Oh well! But anything about Italian culture always makes excellent watching ;-). Thank you for this, BBC 2!