The Italians and the Italians

The Italians and the Italians

All the restaurants Stanley Tucci visited in season two of ‘Searching for Italy’ (BBC2, Sunday 15 June)

“I want to get a drink with you. How about a Martini?”

I’m standing near the bar of a crowded Italian bar. Stanley Tucci, an American actor who lived in Italy for eight years, arrives in the bar carrying a martini glass, looking about 20 years older than his 35 years. He’s here on a warm summer evening to meet his Italian sidekick.

“I am not Italian,” he tells me. “I am American.” A quick interchange then ensues in which he tells me to meet him at the next table so we can have a drink. I look around the bar, feeling somewhat out of place.

“I have to take off my Italian shoes because they bother me, the Italians!” Tucci laughs.

“I’m a foreigner and I don’t speak Italian,” I protest.

He smiles and walks off towards the restroom. A woman approaches me. “I come here just to drink,” she says. “In Italian men drink too much.”

Italian food

We head to a restaurant on the top floor of a shopping centre. Tucci orders a traditional Roman appetiser, mozzarella. As he slices it, he comments on the quality of the cheese, declaring it ‘the cheese of the future’. When we head down to the dining room, two young Italians come in with two large trays of delicious salads with mixed flavours. I suggest they put the salad tables together on the floor – it’s the first time I’ve seen this done elsewhere in Italy. Tucci says, “In Italy you do this when you have nothing.”

It’s 3.30pm and we’re sitting on a wooden bench in the park down the street from the restaurant. He offers me a drink, telling me he has to go back to the restroom. By 4pm, we’ve gone back and forth over four or five glasses of wine. Then he offers me another glass and tells me, “I have to go

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