Anyone who has followed my blog for a little while knows that I always devour tonnes of films and TV shows set where I’m travelling before I go. So, I’ve been watching tonnes of TV shows set in Italy.
As I think about what films and TV shows set in Italy I’ve watched so far, I can hear the faint sniggers of 1,000 Fellini fans silently judging me with their highbrow cinema tastes.
Basically, it’s almost pure trash.
The only Federico Fellini film (Italy’s most revered film director) I’ve seen is La Dolce Vita (1960). While I hope that changes in the near future, in the meantime, this is what I’ve been watching to get excited about my trip…
Random TV shows set in Italy I’m watching
1. Richard Ayoade’s Travel Man: 48 Hours in…
Honestly, who doesn’t watch Travel Man on Channel 4 in the UK? You’ve got the delights of Richard Ayoade’s personality, the comedic guest, and a virtual weekend spent in one of Europe’s top cities. It’s just the perfect wanderlust-inspiring travel show on TV right now.
There have been seven seasons so far. As far as cities in Italy, Richard Ayoade has visited Venice with Jo Brand, Naples with Jack Dee, Florence with Rebel Wilson and Rome with Matt Lucas.
Tbh, I’ve been watching every single episode all over again because every single episode of Travel Man is on All4! Catch up NOW!
2. Francesco’s Italy: Top to Toe
One of the more random entries on this list, I literally just did some searches in BBC iPlayer and found Francesco’s Italy: Top to Toe. It’s a travel show from 2006 hosted by a Venetian architect. He takes us all over Italy from Venice to Turin, through Tuscany to Rome and Sicily in four episodes.
Though it was hard to get into at first, it’s one of the most detailed and fascinating travel shows about Italy that I’ve watched. I learned about the Fiat car, British Aristocracy’s history in Tuscany, more about Rome and the Mafia and poverty in Sicily. I really recommend it if the show is still online. BBC airs re-runs of the show every so often so it stays online for a month afterwards.
Maggie Smith even makes an appearance!
3. The Trip to Italy
You knew this one was coming, didn’t you? The ever-bizarre concept for a TV show: a slightly fictionalised Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan head off to Italy to ‘review’ different restaurants around the country for Rob Brydon to write about in a newspaper. It’s like a scripted reality show because they are definitely being themselves but parts of their personal life are definitely fictionalised.
Is this what Made in Chelsea is like?!
Made by the BBC, season one, set in the Lake District is simply called The Trip and season three is The Trip to Spain. Only the first two seasons, including The Trip to Italy, are on Netflix but I’ll definitely be catching the season in Spain when it arrives.
4. A Celebrity Taste of Italy
This is a bit of a tame choice but A Celebrity Taste of Italy was an enjoyable, easy watch. Just four episodes featuring five ‘established’ British celebrities having a good time in Tuscany. They have lots of cooking lessons, visit a vineyard, visit Siena, Florence and loads of other places. They are just having the time of there lives kicking back on a free holiday in Tuscany.
I can imagine others might find it boring but it was a nice leisurely watch for me. It aired on Channel 5 in October 2017 but they’re keeping it on My5 online for a year. Have a nosey if it sounds like your thing!
5. Everybody Loves Raymond – Season 5, Episodes 1 & 2
Lol, I know. Even more embarrassing is that these are the first episodes of all the TV shows set in Italy I watched. As soon as I submitted my application, actually.
I can’t be the only person who watched episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond on Channel 4 before school and maybe now before work? It’s a classic, and the episodes where the Barone family visit their roots in Italy has to be a highlight.
6. Alex Polizzi’s Secret Italy
Another Channel 5 show that is available on My5 is Alex Polizzi’s Secret Italy. It reminds me of Francesco’s Italy: Top to Toe that I mentioned earlier on BBC iPlayer. She even introduces each of the four episodes stating that she’s travelling Italy ‘from top to toe.’
The show originally aired in 2014 and stars an Italian British ‘Hotelier’ so the show feels a little different. In fact, you’ll probably prefer this one even though they both visit extremely similar places. Season two is also available on My5 and is titled Alex Polizzi’s Italian Islands so that might be worth checking out too.
7. Master of None – Season 2, Episodes 1 & 2
Raise your hand if you want to be a pasta maker’s apprentice for three months and live in a gorgeous little Italian town and just eat and drink the whole time?! Of course, you do. Me too, friend. Me too…
The character Dev goes through a break-up so pursues a dream for a little time out before heading back to New York. I love this show so much, and these two episodes were great to revisit. Yup, I’m literally just re-watching the Italy episodes, but the rest of the show is worth a watch.
Master of None is also on Netflix, it’s a Netflix original show, so check it out!
Have you watched any of these TV shows set in Italy? Do you have any more recommendations? I’m all ears! Let me know in the comments below!