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

FBI Busts Fraudulent $13 Million Wine and Whisky Investment Scheme

FBI Busts Fraudulent $13 Million Wine and Whisky Investment Scheme

A British citizen stands accused of masterminding a grift swindling elderly victims across …

Jun 28, 2022
Trailblazer Iris Rideau’s Memoir to Be Published Juneteenth

Trailblazer Iris Rideau’s Memoir to Be Published Juneteenth

From White to Black recounts the childhood and remarkable career of the pioneering …

Jun 17, 2022
Champagne Stash Discovered in World War I Shipwreck Remains Out of Reach … for Now

Champagne Stash Discovered in World War I Shipwreck Remains Out of Reach … for Now

A U.K.-based team is working to save bottles of Champagne, brandy and more in the wreckage …

Jun 15, 2022
NFL Greats, Top Chef Alums Raise $120,000 for Charity at Jordan’s 50th Anniversary

NFL Greats, Top Chef Alums Raise $120,000 for Charity at Jordan’s 50th Anniversary

New Broncos QB Russell Wilson and his wife, Ciara, led Jordan’s Big Bottle Squad parade in …

Jun 9, 2022
Brad Pitt Says Angelina Jolie Sought to Inflict Harm on Château Miraval

Brad Pitt Says Angelina Jolie Sought to Inflict Harm on Château Miraval

A new claim ups the stakes in the celebrity ex-couple’s battle over the famed Provence wine …

Jun 7, 2022
God Save the Fizz: Wines of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee

God Save the Fizz: Wines of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee

Which wines are fit for a queen celebrating 70 years on the throne?

Jun 2, 2022