Favorite TV Shows Based in Italy

Today’s blog post is about one of the ideas where I recommend you all some of my favorite TV shows based in Italy! I’ll tell you why… I’ve been blogging for over 6 years now but it took me a while to find my own voice and also understand what my audience wanted. I realized no one wants to read a diary but posts packed with information on Italy. That is the reason why you might have noticed a change in the way I have been writing and forming my posts since the past 6 months.

It’s a balance between usefulness to your audience and a mix of your own experiences.

So anyway last week I asked my email subscribers to fill an anonymous Survey for my Blog. The aim was to understand what they want and love and I received (few) lots of suggestions and ideas about what to write so let’s just say that the next 3 months are packed with content 😉

Whether you are an Italophile or not, these shows will help you understand the Italian culture and take you to spectacular places right from your bedroom.

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

Grab a glass of wine and enjoy how Italy makes you appreciate the smallest things in life…..

Alex Polizzi’s Secret Italy

My top recommendation for you is the underrated show Secret Italy by Alex Polizzi. Brought up in Rome but living in England, Alex Polizzi is a passionate woman deeply connected to her Italian roots. With a thirst for all things Italian, Polizzi takes you on a journey to some “Secret” places in Italy. The show is centered around all her connections from her ancestral village to big cities like Rome. There is mouth watering Italian food, simple in its element and flavor but the best part is that the show gives you a sense of what it is to be Italian and how important family is part of their lives.

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.

I saw the show by renting a DVD.

Italy Unpacked

No surprises here, if you’ve seen this show I am guaranteeing you have a huge smile on your face! Giorgio Locatelli and Andrew Graham-Dixon, Italian and English respectively, are lovers of Italian food and art. Together, these two handsome men explore 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 Sicily Unpacked and a Rome Unpacked which were equally fun and informative!

I saw the show on DailyMotion.

Il Commissario Montalbano

Yes yes yes!! I am a HUGE fan of Commissario Montalbano. Based on the books by Andrea Camilleri which you can learn more here, Inspector Montalbano is one of the most popular Italian dramas!! Centered in the mysterious island of Sicily, this show has backdrops like no other. Il Commissario Montalbano 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 side 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’s almost a movie for over an hour packed with Camilleri’s dry humor (rest in peace, Sir) and wit not to forget the delicious Sicilian food!

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✨Andrea Camilleri 6 September 1925- 17 July 2019.✨ Why am I so attached to the books by Andrea Camilleri?? Because as with most books, these came to me at a time when I most needed them. 👇👇 ~I found a friend in Inspector Montalbano and the Series are more than just crime novels. Based out of Sicily, they capture daily Sicilian life at its best. ~Camilleri was a wizard who wrote intriguing stories where he prioritized food over everything else. Even solving a case! ~A great man with a dry humour that had to be savored slowly as you would savour a cannolo (or two). ~Camilleri left a great legacy behind. His absence to the world of literature is huge. I cannot even imagine as I write this. ~ I'll always treasure his stories that are also made into a TV Series which beautifully use the essence of Sicily. ~ It's astounding that the final of the Montalbano series had already been penned down by him years ago. I guess we'll just have to wait to find out when the translator Stephen Sartarelli publishes it in English. Because I'm a long way to go to read in Italian/Sicilian. ~I'll always remember Camilleri's interviews and wry humor and wit. Rest in peace, Sir.~ ✨Thank you for the opportunity to enjoy and be a part of the world of Inspector Montalbano. ✨

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


locations of Montalbano.

You can watch Montalbano here.


Another dark and critically acclaimed show on the Mafia is Gomorrah, in the Italian and Neapolitan languages. This show will open your eyes to the world of The Italian Mafia. Gritty characters, ugly scenes and dirty details are some of the things that encompass this show. 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!!


A recent addition to the list of shows is the Netflix show “Baby”. Don’t go by the cheesy title, the show is much darker than that. It features two high school girls who go through typical teenage crisis but somehow end up in prostitution. Based on a real story, Baby is a lot glamour than expected. It is currently filming the third season.

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Too cool for school. #BabyNetflix

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More Recommendations:

Medici: Masters of Florence (it has historical inaccuracies though but still fun, available on NetflixSuburra, My Brilliant Friend and The Trip to Italy are some more recommendations of TV shows based in Italy.

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Related Reading:

Learning Italian with Cinema

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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