Stanley Tucci Explores the Wines and Cuisines of Italy in New CNN Docu-Series

In Searching for Italy, the award-winning actor dives into the fine art of Neapolitan pizza, the Sicilian wine scene and more

Stanley Tucci Explores the Wines and Cuisines of Italy in New CNN Docu-Series
Stanley Tucci sits down with with Nicola Salvadori, owner of Salumeria Garibaldi in Parma, Italy. (Courtesy of CNN)
Feb 11, 2021

Stanley Tucci is obsessed with the culture and cuisine of his ancestral home. And now the Italian-American actor, writer and producer is bringing his obsession with pasta, wine and Italian culture to the small screen. Searching for Italy, a six-episode documentary series debuting this weekend on CNN, follows Tucci as he tastes his way through Tuscany, Campania, Sicily and more.

"Stanley's biggest desire was to convey the culinary specificity of each region of Italy by looking at their unique history, geography and politics," Searching for Italy executive producer Eve Kay told Wine Spectator via email. "This draws him to contributors who have a huge passion and knowledge of what they do."

Tucci teamed with London-based production company Raw TV and CNN to produce the show. The series opens in Naples, where Tucci meets with renowned pizzaiolo Enzo Coccia and tours the city’s Spanish Quarter, with some scenes showing a glimpse of a local volcano named Vesuvius in the background (no word yet on whether he made it to the 2,000-year-old local wine bar). Later episodes follow him around Rome, Bologna, Milan and Florence, where he partakes in a pandemic-approved wine window crawl to sample some local Sangiovese.

In Sicily, Tucci met with Azienda Agricola Arianna Occhipinti winemaker Arianna Occhipinti. Among other things, they talked about her efforts to combat the declining local youth population by providing employment opportunities for young people.

"Occhipinti uses organic methods to farm the indigenous vines of Nero d'Avola and Frappato grapes to create delicate vintages," Kay told us. "As the poorest region of Italy, Sicily isn't well-known for its wines, nor have Sicilian women been traditionally economically active or commercially successful as winemakers, so we wanted to change the common perception on both those scores and champion it's superb indigenous wines."

The first four episodes of Searching for Italy were filmed in fall 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic had shuttered most of Italy, and the last two were filmed in September 2020, when maintaining safe social distance in public became something of a test for the cult-favorite actor. "One of the biggest challenges was negotiating our way through crowded streets with Stanley," executive producer Adam Hawkins said. "Everyone wanted their picture taken with him!"

Searching for Italy premieres Sunday, Feb. 14, at 9 p.m. ET, and will air weekly on CNN.


Enjoy Unfiltered? The best of Unfiltered's round-up of drinks in pop culture can now be delivered straight to your inbox every other week! Sign up now to receive the Unfiltered e-mail newsletter, featuring the latest scoop on how wine intersects with film, TV, music, sports, politics and more.

Unfiltered Actors Film / TV Italy

You Might Also Like

James Purefoy, Dominic West, Matthew Goode and Matthew Rhys Head to Portugal for ‘Wine Show' Season 3

James Purefoy, Dominic West, Matthew Goode and Matthew Rhys Head to Portugal for ‘Wine Show' Season 3

The foursome check out the cork harvest and discover exceptional Portuguese wines. Plus, we …

Jul 29, 2021
Walking on Hampton Water: Italy’s Superga Collabs with Bon Jovi and Son’s French Rosé

Walking on Hampton Water: Italy’s Superga Collabs with Bon Jovi and Son’s French Rosé

Put some pink in your step with these limited-edition hand-painted versions of the Italian …

Jul 28, 2021
Charity Auction of Culinary NFTs Kicks Off with Marcus Samuelsson’s Fried Chicken Recipe

Charity Auction of Culinary NFTs Kicks Off with Marcus Samuelsson’s Fried Chicken Recipe

The Chef’s Special NFT Collection from Stella Artois and the James Beard Foundation …

Jul 23, 2021
Bienvenue à Brignoles, Monsieur et Madame Clooney!

Bienvenue à Brignoles, Monsieur et Madame Clooney!

Following a roller-coaster contract approval that included a court challenge from another …

Jul 23, 2021
Elizabeth Banks Liked the Wine So Much, She Bought (Half) the Company …

Elizabeth Banks Liked the Wine So Much, She Bought (Half) the Company …

When the Emmy-nominated film and TV star discovered Archer Roose wines, she saw opportunity …

Jul 15, 2021
Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Latest Summer Blockbuster, Brought to You by Yellow Tail

Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Latest Summer Blockbuster, Brought to You by Yellow Tail

The Pure Bright lineup of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio joins the growing …

Jul 14, 2021