stanley tucci
Credit: Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images. ROME, ITALY – FEBRUARY 05: Director Stanley Tucci attends ‘Final Portrait’ photocall at Hotel Eden on February 5, 2018 in Rome, Italy.

There’s nothing more relaxing than watching a cooking show, especially one that takes you out of your plane and travel-free pandemic existence and transports you to one of the most delicious places in the world: Italy. 

For a new CNN special, actor Stanley Tucci is doing just that, taking his longtime love of food and Italian cuisine – Tucci is a third-generation Italian American and already has a popular Italian-themed cookbook under his belt – and exploring it in a new docu-series titled, Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy.

For the show’s debut, Tucci explores Naples, before heading to Rome in the second episode to show how much more there is to the country’s capital city than just the tourist hotspots. In a later episode, Tucci returns to Tuscany, the city his family once called home. In every scene, Tucci is the perfect host, eating all the food on offer, making a real effort to seek out less obvious places to eat in each city and showcasing meals that cover the variety of Italian cuisine. 

Ahead of the show’s release, Tucci said that he hopes the series will change the way people – specifically Americans – view Italy. “[Americans] don’t get the extreme diversity of it,” he explained to CNN. “That if you’re in Sicily you’re less than 100 miles from the coast of Africa, and if you’re in northern Italy in Alto Adige, people are speaking Swiss, Italian, German – a combination of Italian-German and Swiss-German. I’d like people to see that incredible diversity, and how it came about – from geography, from invasions, from the influences of the Arab world, from the Spanish, the Normans, the Austrians. It’s an incredible culinary melting pot.”

Given we’re not likely to be heading to Italy anytime soon, Tucci’s tour of the country is the perfect escape from our living rooms. Just make sure you plan for a pasta night the same week as you watch it because you can almost smell the fresh spaghetti through the screen. 

To watch Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy in the U.S., you can go through CNN and CNN Go tonight. For everyone outside of the U.S., you can also watch the series on YouTube with a subscription (or free trial).