Favorite TV Shows Based in Italy

Today I recommend you all some of my favorite TV shows based in Italy! This post is dedicated to my email subscribers who filled an anonymous Survey for my Blog. The aim was to understand what the audience wants. I received (few) lots of suggestions and ideas and this post is inspired from one of the ideas.

Whether you are an Italophile or not, these shows will help you understand the Italian culture and take you to Italy virtually from home!

These TV shows based in Italy are all unique in their own ways and I bet watching them will help you learn and appreciate the Italian way of living.

So grab a glass of wine and enjoy Italy and the smallest things in life!!

Favorite TV Shows Based in Italy

Alex Polizzi’s Secret Italy

My top recommendation for you is to watch the underrated show called “Secret Italy” by Alex Polizzi. Brought up in Rome but living in England, Alex Polizzi is a passionate woman deeply in love with her heritage. She is connected to her Italian roots and has a thirst for all things Italian. Through the show Secret Italy, Polizzi takes you on a journey to the “Secret” places of Italy. These places are not as common among a first time traveler so you will be surprised by how your Italy list increases! Secret Italy is also a show centered around her connections across Italy. She takes you to her ancestral village, to Ascoli where her ex meets up with her and to big cities like Rome.

There is mouth watering Italian food, lots of wine, stunning seaside, lush green fields ….but the best part is the sense of community…This shows tells you what it is to be Italian!!

Secret Italy by Polizzi is heartwarming and emotional and you will find yourself aching for the Bel Paese. I can never have enough of it especially the episode featuring the region of Le Marche!

Alex Polizzi has done a great job and I would have loved to hear her speak more Italian. The show is in English.

Where can you watch??

Check it out on Channel 5 if you’re in Britain. For the rest of the world, rent out a DVD!

Italy Unpacked

If you’ve seen this show I am guaranteeing you have a huge smile on your face! The hosts of this fun show are Giorgio Locatelli and Andrew Graham-Dixon, Italian and English respectively. They are lovers of Italian food and art and together explore different corners of Italy from the biggest cities to the alleys of small towns.

Italy Unpacked is a show packed with crazy ideas for your next Italian sojourn and one that will inspire you to visit the most unassuming stores, churches and places!!

The show is in English but there are parts when Locatelli talks to the locals in Italian and it just makes me fall in love with the Italian language all over again. My favorite episode of this show was the one of Bologna and Liguria.

Following the series, the makers of the show also had a Series called “Sicily Unpacked” and “Rome Unpacked” which were equally fun and informative !

Where can you watch??

I saw the show on DailyMotion, you catch it on BBC. You can also buy the DVD from this link.

Il Commissario Montalbano

Yes yes yes!! This is one of my most favorite show based in Italy. I am a HUGE fan of Commissario Montalbano, both the show and the books written by the late Andrea Camilleri which you can learn more here.

Inspector Montalbano is set in the mysterious island of Sicily and explores the island’s deepest crimes in the fictional town of Vigata (inspired by the author’s own hometown- Porto Empedocle!!).

This show features Luca Zingaretti as the multi faceted lead with characters that seemingly jump right out of the book!

Montalbano speaks a blend of Sicilian and Italian language and is available in Italian with English subtitles. The best part of watching this show is that it is almost like watching a movie as it is for over an hour. You won’t regret Camilleri’s dry humor, the gorgeous Sicilian baroque towns and delicious Sicilian food!

Two years back I wrote a post for The Local Italy about my time visiting the filming locations of Montalbano.

Where can you watch??

You can buy the books/episodes from the Amazon link here.

Gomorrah

A dark and critically acclaimed show on the Mafia is Gomorrah available in Italian and Neapolitan languages. This show will open your eyes to a different Italy- the one we are probably curious of but don’t want to see. The world of The Italian Mafia!!

Gomorrah is gritty with intense characters, ugly scenes and dirty details. The four seasons have so far been very promising although my favorite was the first! If you prefer reading the book first, order Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano today!!

Where can you watch it??

Gomorrah is available on Netflix and you can buy the DVD with English subtitles here.

Baby

Oh you’d probably think you’re too old for a high school show! I felt the same. But this is a recent addition to my TV shows based in Italy. Don’t go by the cheesy title because this show features two high school girls who go through teenage crisis but somehow end up in prostitution!!

This show is loosely based on a true story. Although it is a lot glamour than expected, Baby will swoon your heart!!

Where can you watch??

Baby is available on Netflix.

My Brilliant Friend

Elena Ferrante is a household name in Italy and even though the first book of The Neopolitan Series came out in 2011, they became famous worldwide due to the TV series of the same name! In 2018, HBO and Rai1 premiered the first season of the book “My Brilliant Friend” (L’amica Geniale). The series is in the original language (Neopolitan and Italian) with English subtitles. It was an instant success not because of great storytelling but because it was made so true to the books!

Where can you watch??

You can buy the DVD here or watch it on Prime.

More recommendations of TV shows based in Italy are:

The Trip to Italy- Slow, easy and informative, available on BBC

Medici: Masters of Florence– it has historical inaccuracies but still fun, available on Netflix

Suburra -Blood on Rome –Mafia world, available on Netflix

Carlo & Malik- Crime drama, available on Netflix

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Italian Movies

26 thoughts on “Favorite TV Shows Based in Italy

    1. Magari! It’s not as easy finding Italian language shows here. But thanks for the recommendations 🙂

  1. You’ve picked some of my absolute favourites – I loved Medici Masters of Florence and can’t wait for the next series. And so glad you’ve seen both Alex Polizzi and Italy Unpacked. We’re really lucky to get such great series here in the UK! Rome Unpacked had me just itching to go back!

    1. Thanks Marilyn. I am happy to suggest more in the future 😉 You really are lucky because here I always have to hunt. Obviously the proximity of UK and Italy and the fact that so many Italians are there, helps.

  2. I’m glad you liked “Medicis Masters of Florence” . I really enjoyed this series and it was a relief to get away from all of the Mafia based series that usually play on TV. Most “historical” TV series do change the facts up a bit for dramatic purposes. I thought the characters and scenes were really engaging. But you didn’t tell people where to find the series!

    1. I actually saw it on Netflix. Not sure, will add it!! Thanks 🙂 I didn’t like how the cities got changed, it was too much in my opinion. The characters were good though.

  3. I’ve had Gomorrah and Medici on my list for a while now. Both sound right up my alley. Didn’t realise Il Commissario Montalbano existed! Can’t wait to try that too.

    1. I think you will love Medici. Montalbano is there, I think even dailymotion has it. Though I downloaded some episdoes.

  4. I remember staying in Montepulciano when they filmed Medicis Masters of Florence. Loved watching it some months later when we returned back home.
    Great list lovely. I love Montalbano too. Xx

  5. For American TV watchers (not sure if it aired elsewhere in the world) – there was a show called Parenthood that has been remade and revised in Italian. In Italian it’s called “Tutto Puo Succedere”. This is not an American show dubbed over in Italian – it has an Italian cast, it’s set in Rome and there are some minor changes to the story line. I loved Parenthood so I’m really enjoying this version! 🙂 It airs on RAI so it’s possible that it can be watched via streaming on their website!

  6. While I appreciate your recommendations, and have watched some of them, the Medici series is pure soap opera, not even close to their story. However, many scenes were filmed in our home town, Pienza. It was fun watching the filming, plus a number of people we know were extras. We tried watching the series, but it was PAINFUL, as lovers of history, and knowledgeable on the specifics of Italian history.

    I would add a German series, based on Dona Leon’s Commissario Brunetti. They have been running for several years now, but only in German. I have heard rumors that her books may eventually be translated into Italian, but just rumors. I have read she is against having them translated into Italian. They are fun reads though, more social commentary than detective stories. Make sure to read or view them in order, as the characters develop over time. Read them, then pick up Brunetti’s Venice, 14 walking tours of the city, before heading there…..(ok, so little off topic, but like you, we are both Italophiles.

    1. I have mentioned that there are historical inaccuracies in that show, of course it is soap opera! I unfortunately don’t get the German show here but I have enjoyed her books in the past 😉 Only read 4-5 as of now but I love reading them in order too.

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