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tv   Stanley Tucci Searching for Italy  CNN  November 25, 2021 5:00pm-6:00pm PST

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no wonder espresso was invented here. i think i might need a few of these just to keep up with the rhythm of the city, but do the hard-working milanese bring as much to the italian table as they do to the country's economy? i'm stanley tucci. i'm italian on both sides and i'm travelling across italy to discover how the food in each of this country's 20 regions is as unique as the people and their past. that's delicious. here in milan, the menu is nothing like you expect. up here in the north, forget about pasta and pizza. oh my god, that's so beautiful. perfecto. this is the land of rice and polenta. >> polenta in the ancient time, it was like the bread. >> people from south of italy call us 'polentoni'.
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>> tucci: there isn't even a tomato in sight... this is amazing. and olive oil plays second fiddle to butter. >> butter, a lot of butter. >> jesus. woah, jesus. warning - irresponsible amounts of butter were used in the making of this program. ok. i hate to say it but... we need more butter. milan is the second biggest city in italy. it's the capital of lombardy - a region in the north of the peninsula, the gateway to northern europe and all of the trade money that that brings. sophisticated, elegant, and rich. milan is the epicentre of design, fashion, and finance.
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the most iconic visual representation of milan's power is its cathedral - the biggest church in the whole of italy. this breath-taking architectural jewel with its forest of spires pointing upwards is the perfect metaphor for milanese ambition. where are you taking me beppe? >> it's a very-- >> up. just up. >> it's a good place. >> yeah? one of my favourite italian writers has spent his whole life in milan. beppe severgnini is a regular new york times columnist. >> milan loves the future. >> he is a master at explaining italians to the rest of the world and i want him to tell me all i need to know about milan. >> welcome to milan's first ever skyscraper. >> even better, he has the keys to the most exclusive rooftop in the city.
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it's extraord -- it's like a city unto itself isn't it? in miniature. wow. >> it's amazing, it's like a sandcastle in the middle of a european city. and this was started in the late 14th century and it's never finished. never. >> never been finished. i've been told that milan is always looking forward, more so than other italian cities. >> absolutely, i love milan because the success of milan in my view is, you walk around and you actually hear all these fantastic italian accents from sicily to trentino alto adige near the alps. >> yeah. >> and all these young people coming from all over europe and bringing new ideas. >> what are the politics like here now? it's tricky. it's-- milan is center-left, the rest of lombardy is solidly on the right. actually - the league, which many people think can... you know the league can be very unpleasant, the leaders, but the voters of the league are alright. but the good thing of milan is that normally in italy if you have a right-wing region and a
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left-wing town they'll spend their time annoying each other, boycotting each other. >> and nobody wins. >> and nobody wins. >> in milan they decided, look, milan is more important and wealth is more important because milan, like the americans, oh they know about money and money is serious stuff here. food is important, money is important. >> what's the thing that separates the cuisine of lombardy? >> in milan it's food for work - it's risotto, it's cotolette, it's meat it's like something that will keep you going and keep working in the cold. >> it's more swiss or germanic almost in its... >> don't say this to an italian. >> [laughs] no never, i would never do that. never do that. traditionally, food has never been a focus of this city - i think people are probably too busy making money to worry about what's for dinner.
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despite this, milan is a trailblazing city at heart, so in the past few years it's become a culinary mecca. cesare battisti is one of the chefs responsible for the milan food revolution. he's at the helm of the buzzy ratana's a restaurant that's been making waves on the gastronomic scene. even though cesare is renowned for being innovative, nobody knows how to make milan's classic dishes like him.
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>> oh my god! that's when -- that was the record they found? and there you have it - proof that milan led the way in the invention of the schnitzel. any dissenting austrian out there, please call me. or call cesare actually, don't call me. so this is clarified butter. >> in this climate olive oil gives way to butter... woah, jesus! the king ingredient of northern italian cooking. smell that. dry sunny fields of olive trees are replaced by fertile pastures
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irrigated by rivers and lakes, perfect terrain for cattle. when i was young we used to have veal cutlets every week. love veal. i know you're not supposed to but i love it. i love it. of course the rearing practices are much better now. like this for instance . in this wealthy city humble rice is flavoured with a spice worth more than gold. >> tucci: so they used the
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saffron to color the stained glass windows in the duomo. those are very expensive windows. yeah, yeah. >> tucci: oh my god that's so beautiful. >> cesare: for you. >> cheers. >> cheers. proper. it's just that little bit thicker. wiener schnitzel is so thin and
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it gets kind of dry. it's so perfectly moist. >> so good! grazie. >> you're welcome. cesare unlocked some of the gastronomic secrets of this metropolis for me. but i hear that to get to the heart of it i may need to go underground. what if you could have the perspective to see more?
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♪ ♪ you are my fire ♪ ♪ the one desire ♪ ♪ you are, you are, ♪ ♪ don't wanna hear you say... ♪ ♪ ♪ i want it that way ♪ people here are known for their unrivalled work ethic.
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they have always had to overcome only from discover. people here are known for their unrivalled work ethic. they have always had to overcome inclement weather and build their livelihood on treacherous marshlands. the milanese work hard but they also play hard. i've heard that within italy,
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milan is known as milano da bere - a city to drink. >> it's very, very cool because it's raining it's cold but italian people they always go to do aperitivo. >> aperitivo is a post-work drink meant to whet your appetite, or aprire l'appetitio as the italians say. i'm here with tess masazza who is something of an expert on the subject. i was watching your stuff, so funny! >> thank you. >> oh my god, it's just brilliant and you started doing it like five years ago right? >> i started five years ago, yes. >> tess masazza is a milan-based social media sensation who is known for her ironic take on modern living. half french, half italian, like so many other young people she now calls milan her home. >> now we are going to a bar, a
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very special bar and they do amazing cocktails. >> really? >> i don't know if you know, spritz. >> is this the joint? >> yes. >> oh jesus. oh my god we haven't even had a drink yet. spritz has taken the world by storm... carefully. ...but it was originally the quintessential milanese drink. >> tess: hello. buona sera. >> tucci: buona sera. campari, it's main ingredient is made here in milan. >> tucci: great, thank you. >> tess: thank you so much. >> cheers. >> cheers. >> salute. >> salute. >> tess: here, you have aperitivo with a drink and you can eat. >> yeah. >> and you go back home and you don't have to cook. >> tucci: that's fine. oh thank you. oh there's the food. >> tess: so you eat and you are more hungry so you eat again. >> every time you order a drink you get this?
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>> it's fantastic, yes. >> yeah. no, it's amazing. it's amazing. a lot of milanese take their work so seriously that they hardly stop for lunch. no wonder they need an aperitivo at the end of their day. luckily this led to a revolutionary milanese invention we're all grateful for - the happy hour. >> milan is very famous also for the secret bars >> yeah? >> and... i love it because it's like in the movies because to enter you have to have a password. >> oh i love that idea. so it's like the old speakeasys. >> absolutely like old speakeasys. >> but legal. >> yes. [laughs] maybe, i don't know. >> maybe? [laughs] tess has been given the password for a secret bar just behind the cathedral... >> tess: it's just here. this is it. >> tucci: this is it? and the password is the name of the witch once believed to be the protector of this neighbourhood. >> tucci: oh, i thought he was going to say no. >> arima. >> are you sure this is the right place? >> i, i-- yes it is.
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>> yeah? yeah. >> tess: hi. >> oh hello. buono sera. thank you. this place is so hip it makes me want to be 20 again... >> tess: wow. you like it. >> wow. >> tucci: yeah i love it. ...or 40 or even 50. 50 would be fine. >> tess: hi. >> hello. stanley. nice to meet you. you're welcome. morris maramaldi is one of milan's most in-demand mixologists. let's order a drink. what are you going to have? >> tess: i think, i'm gonna have the fresh mau. >> tucci: i'm gonna have the martini black saffron. >> morris: martini black saffron. >> yes please. he's known for creating
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incredible drinks with a twist. they are site-specific. >> oh wow. oh, i see it's black. morris has invented a drink to honour the history of this building. that's beautiful. this was once the residence of coal workers. >> remarkably, despite being among milan's poorest residents, they all survived the catastrophic plague of 1630. >> they thought it was her. they thought it was the witch but it was the coal? >> to protect-- it was the coal. >> so this is gonna keep me very healthy? that's the best martini i've had in a very long time. >> thank you. >> wow. and you came to milan
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when? i'm sorry. >> that's ok. >> tucci: no don't let him in. i wouldn't let that guy in. it's really interesting, there's a forward-thinking aspect to this city - more than i've seen in other italian cities. so many people. >> tess: they all come from everywhere, all over. >> yeah, because there's a lot of work. >> you're fantastic, you're just fantastic.
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>> angela: polenta. and what we do and this is the recipe of the house, i don't know where it comes from, we put in the water a piece of garlic. it will leave a flavour. >> yeah, yeah, that's nice, yeah. but you know a lot about the food of lombardy, this area. >> polenta in the ancient times, it was like the bread. you eat it warm with meat if you're lucky or you would have eaten it with cheese, or you would eat it just with butter. or my favourite dish as a child was polenta e latte, warm polenta and cold milk. >> you know, people from south of italy call us from north of italy 'polentoni' because we eat polenta. >> oh is that true, really? >> angela: usually you accompany it with juice and in this case we have e' un brasato. braised with wine, onions, carrots, celery. >> it's been cooked for hours and hours at a really low temperature.
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>> tucci: my god, it just falls apart. >> angela: we are also having pheasant, which is a rural tradition. >> tucci: oh wow, this is beautiful, yeah. >> i'm cooking now the mushroom, olive oil, a bit of garlic. >> tucci: well this is like a perfect autumn meal. gorgeous. lunch is nearly ready, but before we sit down to feast angela's taking me for a peek around the house. not too shabby. >> angela: [laughs] you look at this room, it's not that everything is missoni but it's like, if we look for things which are part of our world, you look at this painting and you can say, "oh yes, this is part of the missoni world." no, it's a severini painting, right? yeah, yeah. >> it's extraordinary. and you grew up here? >> francesco: welcome to the family. >> tucci: thank you so much, thank you. >> francesco: grandma's house is like a... >> tucci: ...the hub of conviviality. one of the perks of living close by is that the whole family can drop in for lunch at grandma's. all three generations come together to share meals regularly. how many of you are involved in the business? >> one, two, three, four-- so six. but enough shop talk. as if by magic we were all drawn to a beautifully laid out table.
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>> tucci: so, polenta. oh and you wrap it in this. oh that's lovely. >> angela: i made a point of doing all the traditional dishes from the house, like brasato, fagiano... >> francesco: at least once a year, we have this. >> tucci: yes, and lots of that beautiful sugo, oh my god, look at that. oh my god. this is very exciting. the pheasant is incredible because so many times you eat pheasant it can be so dry. >> with this sauce, it's really, really juicy and-- >> this is amazing. when you come home for lunch and you're working, what do you eat usually? >> she had guests on sunday, we might have that on monday. >> might have the leftovers on a monday? that's not so bad. >> rosita: this is a typical sunday lunch. >> the brasato with the polenta and the mushrooms literally melted in my mouth. it's always a real privilege learning a family's home recipes and their kitchen secrets. >> the sun is shining. >> i know, i know, and i'm coming back for breakfast.
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♪ i see trees of green ♪ ♪ red roses too ♪ ♪ i see them bloom for me and you ♪ (music) ♪ so i think to myself ♪ ♪ oh what a wonderful world ♪ >> it's snowing. that's very exciting. the geographical diversity of
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lombardy is astonishing. within a few miles from milan, the landscape changes dramatically. it could snow every day as far as i'm concerned. here in the orobic alps, you're in a different world. different culture, different values, different pace. no milanese in a rush would have the patience to do what it takes to create the local culinary delicacy. in the village of gerola alta they are prepared to wait for more than a decade for their cheese to mature. paolo ciapparelli has devoted his whole life to bitto, a 2,000-year-old type of cheese so expensive it was never eaten by those who made it. wow.
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and it became the local currency. each of these cheese wheels can cost up to $850, making it one of the most expensive cheeses in the world. >> wow. the secret to this extraordinary cheese is that it's made from the milk of cows that graze on alpine grass at different altitudes throughout the summer. >> can you tell by the smell? >> really? that's amazing. paolo saved this cheese from extinction when european
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regulation led to cows being given industrial feed in addition to grass from the mountain pastures. >> this is a cheese to meditate upon. oh my god. it's quite beautiful. oh my god, 12 years? he says it opens up his heart.
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wow, wow. it's delicious. this incredible cheese would not exist were it not for the hard work of a near-extinct community of alpine herders. cheers. thank you. paolo's determination to protect their tradition is inspiring and now i am inspired to cook with this cheese. anyway, i think it's time to feed the film crew, who have been watching me eat all day. i don't know who these people are. paparazzi in italy, they follow you everywhere. i'm going to make them one of my favourites - pizzoccheri, a very special kind of noodle. i've never made it because there isn't a lot of wheat in this area, they use buckwheat which is indigenous. it's been one of lombardy's top culinary delights for over 500 years and rightly so. i can't get enough of it.
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so now, savoy cabbage. sort of cut almost like the pizzoccheri themselves. then the potatoes. like all northern dishes, it requires lots of butter. i love this. and now of course, paolo's cheese. ok, i hate to say it but we need more butter. that's why nobody who eats pizzoccheri lives beyond the age of 35. see all that nice cheese melted in there. ok everybody just come and pick. that's enough pizzoccheri for like a thousand people. jamie, ja-- jamie, give me the camera. you eat. do you like it?
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>> jamie: i like it. thanks very much. >> tucci: oh, they're eating it. the crew is exhausted, they're ravenous and they're lapping it up but will my efforts stand the test of the locals? the family that owns the lodge we're staying in have offered to be my judges, including the octogenarian patriarch. >> very good. [laughs] buonissimo. >> don't say that because i'm famous. >> oh that's really good. >> no, no, oh no. now i'm very nervous. >> it's a good sign if he's not saying anything.
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>> that's the best compliment anybody could ever have. [laughs] i'd like to think it's my culinary talent that made this dish so successful but my instinct is its paolo's cheese. that's delicious. i'm so glad that paolo saved this cheese from extinction. i defy anyone who tries pizzoccheri with bitto not to become a cheese outlaw.
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with voltaren arthritis pain gel. my husband's got his moves back. an alternative to pills, voltaren is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory gel for powerful arthritis pain relief. voltaren, the joy of movement. nice boat. >> yes. >> it's nice and calm. this is the lombardy i know - lake como.
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its sheer beauty will never cease to amaze me. merely 30 miles north of milan, just below the alps, this is lombardy's most fabled destination. >> let's go fishing. [laughs] >> i am here with william cavadini, a local textile manufacturer with a passion for fishing. >> como is a very important city for the textile business. >> yes i know, yeah. >> for silk. >> for silk, yeah. >> yes and my family is three generations of textile business. >> oh really? >> yes, yes. and for that job i travel around europe, middle east and after, i came back to como and decided with a few friends to stay together to work to help the lake. >> the few friends turned into an association of 600 fishermen. that's a nice one. >> yes, that is a nice one. >> they made it their job to help the local government enforce fishing limits across the lake. you can only keep fish that are more than 6 inches long and in limited quantities.
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are people trying to stop fishing on the lake? is that what people want to do? >> what's going on is global warming. the lake's ecosystem has started to have trouble and we have to do something to change the system. >> these fish that come from these lakes are really crucial to the diet here for centuries. >> exactly, you know our tradition is...'s fantastic. >> we're gonna fish, right? i'm very excited. i love fishing. i never catch anything but i love fishing. >> today you will. >> today i will, i hope. >> i hope. >> william: and down. >> how do you know when you-- can you-- you can feel it? >> william: yeah, you feel it. >> tucci: you feel the nibble. >> and when you feel-- ah, maybe you have. i think you have. yes you have. this is a nice one. [laughs] >> i could feel it. >> this is a nice one. >> william: [cheering] three! >> tucci: that's what i'm talking about. >> william: who is the president? >> don't cut this sequence, make
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sure it's in one shot so they know. >> william: you are invited to my place. i'd like to teach you how to cook the riso con pesce persico. i'm very, very excited. i've heard that, like many people outside milan, william supports the league, a political party born here in lombardy demanding the independence of the north from the south. its leader matteo salvini has polarized the country with his extreme anti-immigration views. >> william: this is the complicated moment to clean. >> tucci: just going up the spine. i'll have to find the right moment to broach the subject while we cook. >> william: now you cut the head. >> tucci: so you don't cook the whole fish? >> william: you can but we keep our tradition. in como, you know, you move just 10 kilometers and everything changes.
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this is the nice and difficulty of italy. i think it's something that is the italian dna. we say, it's not difficult to govern the italians [laughing] >> you understand? >> tucci: now we're gonna cook it. >> william: we need butter. a lot of butter. >> woah jesus yeah. >> william: sage here, with the butter and with the garlic. >> so tell me about the political climate in italy now. >> it's very difficult to make a good government for all the italians... >> right. >> william: ...because something that is good in the south maybe is not good in the north. mr. salvini is one politician that is born from lega nord and step by step, he start to grow also in the south.
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>> you worked all over the world what do you think about salvini's attitude towards immigrants? >> in italy we don't have the system to bring these people and help these people. >> but salvini says, don't bring these people in at all, stop them completely no matter what, even if they drown, even if >> - we're not even gonna let them off the boat. i can understand limitations on immigration but it's very hard to swallow the idea of saying there are children and women, maybe pregnant women, and we're not going to let them off the boat. >> yes stanley, i agree with you. >> william: why today i have to say no more people here because there is not enough space. we would like to have a good drink, good food, we don't like to fight. it is not in our dna. >> tucci: beautiful. you speak about salvini - you have to speak about rice. come on, not some politician,
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you are italian. if you don't agree, you don't have to go out from this house. >> i wanted to talk to you about it because i agree that there do have to be rules in place however one of the reasons america is the way it is today is because it accepted millions of italian immigrants. and that is what i think-- that's the issue i have with salvini because what we're doing is we're making an attempt to regulate the human instinct of saving people. >> my-- what-- why salvini-- well, try because you know... >> oh, it's really good. oh my god. >> next time we'll invite salvini, i know him. >> you do? >> yeah. >> is he a nice guy? >> yes, like me. >> hmm, i'm not so sure i would like to come back and meet salvini but i'd be very happy to
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come back and see william again. i was surprised william suggested that as an italian i should care more about food than politics because i believe the two things are connected, hospitality can also be a political choice. of risk and. so you can enjoy more of...this. this is the planning effect. like pulsing, electric shocks, sharp, stabbing pains, or an intense burning sensation. what is this nightmare? it's how some people describe... shingles. a painful, blistering rash that could interrupt your life for weeks. forget social events and weekend getaways. if you've had chickenpox, the virus that causes shingles is already inside of you. if you're 50 years or older ask your doctor or pharmacist about shingles.
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>> felicity: of course i am, it's amazing. >> tucci: this is where we met. >> have you got some poetry? >> not on me. i tried to come to lake como without my wife felicity but she followed me. it's one of the most beautiful places-- >> i know you have the-- >> it sounds silly to say it is. >> i love that you have, you've got this, the sun, the lake and then also just the snow peaks. >> yeah. >> what is that mountain range over there? >> that's the beginning of the alps. as much as felicity and i love spending time here by the lake, there is a place in milan i want to show her that's doing something extraordinary. a restaurant in the centre embodies the spirit and history of milan like almost nowhere else. >> angelo bissolotti is the mastermind behind osteria del treno, a haven for the hard-working milanese in an historical venue.
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>> felicity: felicity, >> felicity: nice to meet you. >> when angelo acquired this place 30 years ago his mission was to create an authentic osteria, accessible to everyone. you can have lunch here every day for less than $11, hang out in the afternoon, but in the evening this becomes a hotspot, celebrating the region's finest foods and entertainment. >> oh my god, that looks delicious. we were joined by angelo's nephew, francesco... >> this is nice. >> yeah. ...and our mutual friend, the
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actress lella costa. >> oh god it looks amazing. >> felicity: my god. >> tucci: oh beautiful. >> angelo: see? >> yeah. >> lella: for a long time it's been the only place where people could afford to go and eat out. it wasn't expensive. >> right. >> angelo couldn't have picked a better location for his osteria as this place was created by the workers, for the workers. >> in italy, the first rail workers' strike was claimed here in this place. >> a bit of their salary, they use it to help each other they use it for a meeting hall, a place to have dances, to listen
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to music, to build this place. and in essence, they create a union. >> lella: yeah. >> francesco: yeah. >> francesco: ...with mashed potatoes. this is something for the workers. >> tucci: delicious, that's delicious. >> angelo has brilliantly recreated the spirit of traditional osterias. [singing]
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before i started this trip i never would have imagined such a place could exist in fashionable, money-driven milan. this seems like a million miles away from the nearby stock exchange... ...the trendy bars and the luxury brand stores. here, in this milan, i recognise the power of the pioneers that changed the face of italy through sheer hard work. this place, for me, is living proof that conviviality can be a vehicle for social change after all, most revolutions begin around a table. [beat music]
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>> it's hard to believe that just a few months ago the first wave of covid-19 had emptied the streets of naples and italy was in lockdown. thankfully, i've arrived during a brief moment of normality. restaurants are open and masks are not required outside and we'll be sticking to the local rules. napoli is a truly thrilling city. the second you arrive you're engulfed by a magnificent chaos and there's no point in fighting it. people here do things their own way. take the energy of new york, mix in the gritty elegance of new orleans, add 3,000 years of history and cook it all up in the heat of the world's most famous volcano. that is napoli. i'm stanley tucci. i'm italian on both sides and i'm traveling across italy to discover how the food in each of this country's 20 regions is as unique as the people and their
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past. this place may be looked down on as the poverty-stricken underdog of italy. but the people who live in this region have their own way of doing things. for me, this is our philosophy. this is our style and tradition. they've given the world its favorite food. pizza margarita! just don't forget where it was invented. [upbeat piano music] if pizza was going to be born anywhere, it would be here in naples. the city is hot, fast, and a feast for the senses. naples is situated


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