Andrew Graham-Dixon and Giorgio Locatelli explore the culture and history of Italy. They begin in Emilia-Romagna, visiting Bologna, Ferrara, Modena and Parma.
Browse content similar to The Art of the Feast. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
'I'm Andrew Graham Dickson and I'm an art historian.
'I'm Giorgio Locatelli and I'm a chef.
'We are both passionate about my homeland, Italy.'
The smells, the colour, this is what food is all about for me.
'The rich flavours and classic dishes of this land are in my culinary DNA.
'And this country's rich layers of art
'and history have captivated me since childhood.'
It's meant to make you feel as if you are being whirled up to heaven.
'We're stepping off the tourist track and exploring Italy's
'Northern regions of Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy and Piedmont.'
'It's part of Italy that's often overlooked, but it drives
'the whole country, and I want to show off its classic dishes.
'Not to mention its hidden legacy
'of artists, designers, intellectuals.'
One of the world's great builders.
'This week we are in Emilia-Romagna,
'the birthplace of modern Italian cuisine.
'And home to some of Italy's most fascinating artists
'and powerful dynasties.'
We are beginning our journey to this wonderful region
in Bologna, its capital.
I first came here with my parents when I was about ten years old
and we must have visited just about every church in the city
and everywhere we went, we bought postcards of the altar pieces,
the sculptures, the paintings, and I always remember going home
and sitting at the kitchen table with my mum for about a week,
off and on, we made this scrap book.
Maybe it was my very first lesson in art history.
I'm looking forward to see all these producers,
to put some faces on these people that
I talk to through the telephone, you know, ordering stuff.
Cos, you know, our menu always has something
that comes from this place.
Since the Middle Ages, Bologna has been known by three nicknames,
la dotta, la grassa e la rossa - the learned, the fat and the red.
'Renowned for its striking red building, militant politics and rich
'cuisine, Bologna represents quality and taste, not to mention power.'
I love the statue.
And you know, for me, this is really Bologna,
these big breasts she's holding there. Neptune, the abundance.
-It's a symbol of the fact that Bologna has always
thought of itself as a rich city, a powerful city.
You know, we can get Giambologna, the greatest sculptor of his age
to come here and create our Neptune Fountain.
You can feel Bologna's sense of its own power
as the capital of Emilia-Romagna here.
It's the architecture of power, the scale is enormous.
And it's not only that, it's also that you know the culture,
I mean, the culture of food is incredible.
You know Parma ham is
more recognisable than the Italian flag, isn't it?
It's more representative of Italy than...
Parma ham and Parmesan cheese.
you know, all produced in a very traditional, artisan way.
Tradition is important in Bologna,
a city which likes to remember its past.
At its heart is the oldest university in the world,
established in 1088.
"The home of la dotta, the learned."
'Enrico Brizzi, one of my favourite Italian authors, studied here
'and he's agreed to show us round.'
This is where you belong, Andrew.
-It's fantastic. You just come in off the street like that.
The most influential families, the most wealthy family all
around Europe send their children for a tour of the main universities
and it was almost compulsory to pass from here.
Have some time in Bologna. Are these their graduation plaques?
Yeah. The graduated students left here
the coat of arms of their families.
'In 1562, Bologna began a massive remodelling of the city centre,
'including an expansion of the Cathedral of San Pietro.
'When the Pope realised, with some alarm, that the cathedral was
'destined to become bigger than St Peter's and the Vatican itself,
'the money was diverted to these magnificent university buildings
'and it gave birth to a new type of pilgrim to Bologna - students.'
You know, Andrew, what I think, as well, is that all the students come
here and this is not only important what they bring in and learn,
but also what they take away. Of the colour of the building but...
'These hallowed halls have seen the likes of Dante, Petrarch
'and Thomas a Beckett pass through them.
'And there's one room which I'm particularly excited about seeing.
'A true example of how art can inspire learning.'
This is one of the great things, not just to Bologna,
this is one of the great things in the world.
It's the only really authentic surviving early, early,
anatomy theatre, and that is a Renaissance-coffered ceiling.
And in the middle we've got Apollo with his lyre, pointing down,
the God of Medicine pointing straight down,
probably to the hand of the anatomy teacher as he demonstrates
to his students how to cut up a body.
I feel a bit presumptuous doing this but I think it's the only
way to understand the space, which is a theatre of learning.
He loves it up there.
Yeah, because the Professor in ancient times was also an actor.
-Who is performing lessons.
Absolutely, teaching was a form of rhetoric and you feel that up here.
-My job would have been...
-Giorgio, come up here, Giorgio, come on.
-My job would have been to be down here, I'll tell you.
Sweeping up the blood and the entrails left over.
And so now you're on the spot
and you've got all the figures of the past, Galen, Hippocrates,
they are all caught in a frozen moment of their teaching.
And this canopy on the top of us is an allegorical figure of anatomy
but it's supported by these grizzly figures of skinned men.
So you can see the tendons.
Yes, and the muscle and everything. This is incredible.
He's even got a peeled penis.
You don't see many of those in world art.
-See that figure at the back?
-Do you know what he's holding?
He is holding a human nose because that is Tagliacozzi,
-the founding father of cosmetic surgery who apparently...
He did, he did the first nose job, so that's why he's holding a nose.
The nose. Oh, my God. How many years ago?
How many ears ago? How many noses ago?
-Enrico, I have to say thank you, it's just a masterpiece.
'It's not hard to see how Bologna earned its nickname
'la dotta, the learned.
'Walking through these stunning buildings,
'the sense of them as living places of learning really is striking.
'They give the whole city a sense of life and vivacity.
'But just like an army, students and their teachers march
'on their stomachs and it's time to discover a true Bolognese meal.'
You know what? With all this culture and everything, I think that,
you know, now we should just explore the second bit.
Enough dotta, enough intelligentsia,
let us work out something about the grassa.
'You can't come to Bologna without eating the king of Italian dishes -
'pasta ragu - a dish that's known worldwide by another name -
'In Italy, we are famous for our pasta,
'and Bologna is the place to come from fresh egg pasta,
'which artisans here turn into a work of art.
'No wonder this city is known as la grassa, the fat one.'
So here, the same attention to detail that is paid to art
and to music, you know, is paid to food.
And so here you are, look, this is all made by hand.
Look at what it says there,
"Tagliatelle ve le tagliamo su misura."
They cut the tagliatelle how long you want it,
so if you want heavy sauce, short tagliatelle,
if you have a light sauce, like a pesto or tomato sauce then
long tagliatelle, two fork or one fork they call it, you know.
So this is tailor-made pasta?
But not only. Look, it says here, "Tortellini per ingannare i mariti."
To fool your husband.
Cos you take them home and tell your husband that you made it yourself.
-Per ingannare i mariti.
Buona sera, signora Edda.
Che piacere vedere la. TRANSLATION
Ma ciao, come stai?
You don't come in here just to buy stuff.
It's not like a fuel station that you come in
and you fill up the car and go. You talk to them, they talk to you.
Look, there's a chair, you can sit down if you're tired.
'Food here is a living tradition.
'This shop has been in the same family for 130 years.'
Andiamo far un po di pasta?
It's obviously very serious business, this pasta, Giorgio?
It is very serious.
'This is the perfect place to get the tagliatelle for dinner tonight.'
This is like a cathedral. You're entering now the inner chamber.
When you eat spaghetti or when you eat dried pasta,
the one that comes from the south, that's durum wheat.
-OK, so durum wheat contains a lot of protein.
This, because in the north, the type of soil,
they just only grow soft wheat.
So the soft wheat hasn't got any protein in it.
So the al dente won't be there, the pasta will be very mushy.
OK, so by putting in the eggs, which contains a lot of protein
in the eggs, you're going to achieve that al dente texture.
This is like a...an incredible expression of how, actually,
the land determine what you have on the plate.
You know, all the world eats this spaghetti Bolognese.
Here when they make the Bolognese in Bologna, they don't know
what spaghetti Bolognese is. Nobody eats spaghetti Bolognese.
No Bolognese. Noi solo facciamo.
So how come, the world over, people eat spaghetti Bolognese?
-Because the Americans, you know.
Have you seen this?
This is called mattarello.
Signora Edda, a cosa servi il mattarello? Per due cose no?
Per il marito.
To make the pasta and when your husband come back drunk,
you wait behind the door
And apparently they say that if you don't know why you hit him,
he knows why you hit him.
Il marito lo conosce.
Yeah, it's the husband knows this one very well apparently.
-Is that the right length for your...?
No pomodoro, eh.
-She said don't use tomatoes.
-Don't use tomatoes!
Don't drop it.
'I'm leaving Andrew for a couple of hours to buy some other
'ingredients for dinner tonight.'
Tre o quarto carotti.
'My ragu is based on a classic recipe,
'written by Pellegrino Artusi in 1891.'
'His book, Science In The Kitchen And The Art Of Eating Well
'is my Bible. In fact, here in Italy, it's everybody Bible.'
Questa e per la ragu antiqua?
A l'antiqua. Quello di Artusi.
Senza pomodoro e!
E ci vuole e.
Ci la mettiamo?
Ci la mettiamo un pocatino. Una punto cosi.
'While Giorgio focuses on the local cuisine,
'I want to find a delicacy of my own, of the artistic type.
'I'm on the hunt for one of Bologna's hidden gems.
'Every major Italian town has a Pinacoteca Nazionale -
'National Art Gallery - which houses the work of local artists.
'Thankfully, there's 25 miles of portico's covering Bologna's
'pavements to keep the sun off my head.'
'And with their frescoes, even these are artistic as well as functional.'
-Are you OK? It's too hot.
Yeah, it's OK, but look at this.
-It's difficult to find this place, eh?
-It's not easy to find
but this is what I like, you know.
Here we are, it's an unassuming part of Bologna.
Really unassuming. You wouldn't even know that this art gallery
was here, it's just a little subtle sign,
"Ministero Per I Bene E Le Attivita Culturali",
-but I've found a real treat inside for you.
'This building may not be as impressive as the Uffizi
'in Florence, but inside there are real treasures to be found.
'The pinnacle of Italian art is not restricted to Tuscany and Rome.
'Bologna and Emilia-Romagna also produced some fantastically
The Bolognese do not like this idea that you simply paint what you see.
Realism is not their thing.
Art is about conveying an idea,
it's a much more intellectual approach to painting.
Guido Reni was born in Bologna in 1575
and became celebrated throughout Italy.
But his fame dimmed as the Bolognese style of painting
fell out of fashion.
That I really like.
This great painting was commissioned for Bologna's San Domenico Church.
And you can just imagine the impact it would have had
as you stared at it over Mass.
It certainly draws your eye, it's a drama.
-Yeah, it's a drama.
-It's the Massacre of the Innocents.
So that's what they are, the little kids?
This is one of the bloodiest scenes in all of the Bible -
a genocide enacted upon children.
And yet the idea here in Bologna was that
if you actually painted it as if it were real, it would just be
so sensational that people wouldn't think about what's really going on.
Whereas if you distance it all, people can bear to look at it
and therefore they can think about it in a different way
and be affected by it in a different way.
For dinner, Andrew and I
will enjoy a Bolognese masterpiece of a different sort.
It's a dish that sits firmly on the local tradition
of rich Italian food.
It must be one of the reasons Bologna is also nicknamed la grassa,
Bologna la Dotta would not exist without Bologna la grassa -
la grassa, the fat one.
'For my ragu sauce, I'm following Pellegrino Artusi's classic recipe.
'Artusi was obsessed by the idea of compiling comprehensive lists of recipes,
'from every Italian region.'
Artusi, he's one of your heroes, right?
He's definitely my hero.
He was the first writer that actually sort of put together in the book,
a concept of Italian cuisine.
You know, because we have so many different regions with so many
different microclimatic conditions and so many different ingredients.
So obviously the diet is a little bit different.
So it's believed it was not just to give you a recipe, he'd give you
the whole history of the recipe and the meaning of the recipe.
So it's kind of a culinary portrait of Italy?
Garibaldi unified Italy politically,
but he kind of unified Italy gastronomically.
Do you know what I mean?
I'm going to add a little nice slap of butter.
You said you were going to put some heart in it?
Was it a lamb's heart?
Yeah, the butcher that we went this morning to get the thing,
he says, "Oh, you want two hearts as well?"
I'm, like, "Yeah, I'll have the hearts as well."
I thought it was really good.
So you must have liked Othello,
if you've allowed Othello to alter the great Artusi's recipe, eh?
That's true, you're right.
If you get some good advice on the market or it just seems right,
you follow it, yeah.
So my meat is now kind of browning.
I'm going to put the vegetables in it that I already cooked.
Today when I went to the butcher, Othello he said,
"It's true that Artusi say not to put the tomato,
"but just a nice, little spoon of tomato,
"per il colore, for the colour."
-But you know what you're doing here?
You know what you're doing.
You're going to get hit on the head with that rolling pin!
Cos she said whatever you do,
if you're making the ragu Bolognese, you don't put the tomato in.
But I really want to put a little bit of tomato in it.
A tiny little bit.
-You're a heretic!
You're a heretic.
I'll tell you what Artusi has to say to you.
-Artusi had a very nosy priest.
-Who lived near him.
And he called him Don Pomodoro.
Do you know why,
because this priest got his nose into everyone's business.
Everyone business, every sauce.
He's like the tomato, he gets in everywhere.
In everywhere, yeah.
Look, I just put in literally like, a spoonful.
You should give some leftovers to her and see if she notices?
Senora Edda, you mean?
To the success of your heretical pasta sauce recipe.
'While my sauce is cooking,
'we've got time to take in the sunset over Bologna.
'That's if we can make it up all the 280 steps.'
I mean, what are you...? Working up an appetite!
That's what we're doing, working up an appetite for you.
Ci siamo. We arrive.
Oh, look at the moon!
Andrew, look at the moon.
It's so beautiful.
Look, all the Centro Storico is just red, isn't it?
Now, we really like this in Bologna.
To me, you know the best dish is tagliatelle with ragu,
it's the best dish ever.
Can I take some cheese?
-Un po di parmigiano.
-Cosi? How much?
-As much as you like.
-I don't like too much.
As much as you can afford, usually they say.
CUTLERY CLINKS AGAINST THE BOWL
Thank you, Artusi.
Thank you, Edda. I think the pasta is delicious.
The pasta is delicious.
I mean, if that was spaghetti, Giorgio, look.
-All of that would fall off right.
-But it's been caught in the knots.
The spread of the idea of the spaghetti Bolognese
with the meat sauce, is very much attached to the immigrants.
The immigrants left Italy because there was not enough food.
And so when they went to America, you know, the only thing they,
-the only thing they says...
..there was plentiful of meat there,
so they put as much meat as you can with every dish of pasta.
So what had been before been the dish you'd eat once in a while
when times are good and you've got some meat became...
Suddenly it was something that, you know.
GIORGIO SPEAKS IN ITALIAN TO THE BARBER
'There is nothing like a good shave
'and to freshen up in the morning.
'And I know that Andrew will love this place.'
But, Giorgio, isn't this another example of how in Bologna,
people who do everyday occupations somehow manage to do them
in surroundings of such calm and dignity and beauty,
you know, like the lady making the pasta,
she's doing it in a shop that's like a palace.
'Beneath the calm and dignity is a volatile political history.
'It's not just the buildings that are red in Bologna, the politics is too.
'The centre of Bologna is full of small, independent business.
'They all thrive because of the socialist policies
'established by Bologna Communist Party in the post war years.
'Small traders pay much lower business rates than large corporations.
'And it's this link to the Communist Party that is in more recent times
'the reason for Bologna's third nickname, la Rossa, the Red.'
Your face will feel so good all day you know.
'Bologna's reputation for political militancy is not limited
'to the post-war Communist years.
'As far back as 1506, Bologna saw popular uprising against the ruling classes,
'which led to the city being annexed by the Papal State.
'The Bolognese spirit of rebellion rose again
'during the Second World War.
'Bologna was a centre for the Resistance.
'Over 1,800 Resistance fighters were shot here by the Nazis.
'Bologna la Rossa has also left an artistic legacy.
'The 20th century Bolognese artist, Giorgio Morandi,
'spent his career paying homage to humble, everyday objects,
'right up until his death in 1964.
'Day after day, he sat in this studio rearranging and painting these pots.
'He's revered in Bologna, his studio's preserved as a shrine,
'and his life work is displayed in this new museum.'
It's a painting of apparently almost nothing.
There is this sort of a flavour of old Italy,
it reminds me of, like, grandparents keeping things
and never throwing away anything and giving a personality
to each of the objects that means something to them.
You hardly ever get in Morandi
anything that looks like...luxury colour,
this is not luxury, this is simplicity.
If you think about it,
you have all those colours in the front of you.
It's like the ingredients, you get a lot of ingredients,
and most chefs just put them all in the dish, like, you know,
it takes of strength and self-assertiveness to make sure
that you only pick the right one that will work for you.
I think that's part of his cleverness as an artist,
-he is very much painting during the rise of global capitalism.
And if you wanted to find his sort of opposite in world art,
-it would be Andy Warhol.
Who's painting the ordinary objects of American life,
but it's Heinz tomatoes and it's...
-Brand names. Brillo boxes.
I mean, maybe that's Bologna la Rossa.
Maybe this is a kind of counterblast,
because he's painting these pictures up until, well, he dies in 1964.
So maybe he's the sort of counterblast to Warhol.
'For me, Bologna definitely lives up to its three nicknames,
'la dotta, la grassa and la rossa.
'And they're all intricately intertwined,
'a fascinating marriage of food, culture and politics.'
It's quite a comfortable, very bourgeois town
that you'd think maybe had forgotten its socialist past,
-but it's still there, don't you think?
-I think so.
JAUNTY ACOUSTIC GUITAR MUSIC
'So it's goodbye to Bologna.
'Now we're off to explore the rest of Emilia-Romagna.'
CAR ENGINE ROARS
'This is the Po Valley.
'This fertile land has nourished the region's rich history
'and fed the local culture,
'both literally and metaphorically.
'The beautiful River Po is the artery of Emilia-Romagna.
'It has painted the region in a palette of swirling fog,
'deep, dark soil and lush, arable farmland.
'Many of the rich historical traditions of this region
'stems from these waters.
'This river is also the source of my best memory of Emilia-Romagna.'
They tamed the land to grow what they want,
and here they even tamed the sea.
This is, like, something very special about it.
'I wanted to show Andrew one of the great pastimes of the Po Valley,
'with the land and the river as a backdrop.'
'The padellone is a traditional way of fishing,
'where friends can get together to share in the peace
'and tranquillity of this land, and get a meal too.'
Buona sera! These are your soci?
What's soci mean?
Soci is because they all own this hut together.
It's like going to the bar, isn't it?
But it's a bit more secluded, it's more calm.
It's like the golf club except with fish.
But what I really want to know, I want to know how it works.
How it works. If you push that one, the trick is done.
SPEAKS IN ITALIAN
Oh, it's coming up.
Look at that! Look how big it is.
That is fabulous, look at that!
Oh, look at the crab, can you see the crab?
Ohhh, that's what we're going to eat.
These are delicious!
'The name "padellone" refers the shape of the nets,
'which resemble the giant pan the fishermen fry their catch in.'
This is baby red mullet. They're all different, you see.
So you deep-fry these little chaps?
That's it, you put a little bit of flour and you fry it, that's it.
It's not a very difficult kind of fishing, I have to say.
I think it's Italian people spending time together,
it's about the drink and the food.
The food always brings them together.
JAUNTY ACCORDION MUSIC PLAYS
'For honest working men, like Umberto and Banana,
'this pause from life is typical of Emilia-Romagna, rooted in the place.'
Semolino and a little bit of double zero flour, OK.
So one sticks to it,
the other one's going make it really, really crispy.
Now the only place they jump is in the pot.
How long do they take to cook, Giorgio?
Very, very fast, they're going to cook in about maybe one minute.
You see, Andrew, I really wanted you to come and see this,
because this is really,
when we're talking about richness of this land, culture.
And the real power of this land is really all these people
and on this river that has brought down for thousand and thousand of years,
this goodness from the Alps.
And it's brought it down to them, and they've been here every day
taking a little bit, with respect and with love.
And, you know, look at the variety, the colour, the beauty
and the abundance.
This is what it's all about, Emilia-Romagna.
MEN CHAT IN ITALIAN
Andrew, per noi queste sono como le patatine,
-This is like, like fried chips. Like fried chips!
On the padellone, there's no stress, so...
It's the culture that, you know, this is just a little step towards freedom, isn't it?
THEY TOAST AND LAUGH
The brindisi are getting more chaotic!
'After a strong coffee, we're back on the road
'and heading to the historical city of Ferrara.'
I'm definitely slightly the worse for wear.
These brindisi. That's fantastic.
"Facciamo un brindisi!"
'The city of Ferrara was built on the banks of the Po.
'It was the stronghold of the Este dynasty who ruled here
'for over 300 years until the end of the 16th century.
'Like many dynasties, the Este used arts and architecture
'to express their power and wealth.'
I wanted you to see this arch, Giorgio, that was designed by Alberti,
-the father of Renaissance architecture.
And on the top is a statue of Nicolo III d'Este.
I feel like I'm taking a reluctant eight-year-old on a tour
-round the architectural delights of Ferrara.
I'll have to find something better for you, eh?
It's all so nice and fresh.
'Today, Ferrara is a bustling university town,
'full of students and bicycles.
'The university was established by Alberto V of the Este in 1391.
'The Este invited artists, architects and scholars
'from all over Europe.
'Jewish bankers, persecuted elsewhere, were welcomed here -
'in fact, the doors were flung open to all who could contribute
'to making Ferrara powerful and successful.'
If you came from anywhere else in Italy and you arrived here,
you'd be like stumbling out of the Dark Ages
into this new Renaissance idea of what is a city,
you know, these wide streets.
This was really the first emphatic expression of a very particular Renaissance idea
which was...a planned town.
You know, town planning.
The medieval town just grows like an organism,
and you end up with this labyrinth, where poor lives next to rich.
Everything's a kind of chaos.
Here in Ferrara, for the first time,
the Este said, "No! We're not going to have that kind of city any more.
"We're going to have a planned city - wide streets, but only for the rich."
It's just lined with palaces in all directions
and at the centre of it all, this thumping great expression of Este power,
the Palazzo dei Diamanti,
with these amazing kind of sharp diamonds of stone all over it,
studded like a kind of piece of chain mail.
I mean, there's nothing else like it in Renaissance architecture,
-not quite like this.
-Right. It looks very modern, isn't it, somehow?
Yeah, I think it is - fascist architects looked at this building
when they were designing in the '30s and '40s.
They were looking at this kind of symmetry, this architecture of power.
I think it's very beautiful,
but I also think there's something slightly sinister about it.
It's telling you if you're one of the Ferrarese poor,
"Don't mess with us or we'll come down on you like a..."
-The fist will squash you?
-Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
'In their heyday, the Este were as dominant as the Medici
'and even married into other powerful dynasties,
'including a notorious union with Lucrezia Borgia.
'But in 1598, with no heir to continue the line,
'Ferrara was claimed by the Papal States.
'Today the Este dynasty is largely forgotten.'
Because the Este lost the power battle, all of their buildings
got stripped of their possessions, got taken to other places,
so what we're left with is this beautiful, fantastic,
but rather melancholy stage set - it's like the set of a play
but all the actors have gone.
'We are driving further west along the Po Valley to Modena.
'This city is home to two of my favourite things,
'balsamic vinegar and fast cars.
'But it's also home to a truly heart-stopping work of art -
'one that's rooted in the soil and the blood of this region.'
I'm going to tell you a story.
I'm going to give you a role in the story as well, if you don't mind?
-I've got a role in the story?
So you have to imagine that it's 1480,
you've done something terrible,
maybe you've tried to poison the Duke of the Este Dynasty,
but you've been caught, and you've been sentenced to death.
Now they're taking you down this street.
-When you get to the end of the street, they're going to rip pieces
of your flesh off with red hot pincers, they're going to hang you
-by the neck until you're dead.
But you've got some friends with you
and they are the members of the local confraternity of the good death,
and it's their job to make sure that you repent before you die.
This is their church, they stop you here,
and they bring you in because they want you to see one last thing.
-Before I die?
-Before you die.
I would like to have a risotto before I die.
Maybe you've had your last wish already, so assume you've had your risotto.
This object is going to be the last thing
that you should hold in your mind's eye if you want to save your soul.
It was created in 1477 by an artist called Guido Mazzoni.
What is it made of?
-It's made of terracotta.
Yeah, it's made of the same earth of Emilia-Romagna
from which all the things that we've been eating grow.
So the idea behind the sculpture is that you are going to your death
and I, as a member of the company of the good death,
want you to have as good a death as possible.
And that if you look as Christ's dead figure
lying while Mary the Madonna grieves over him,
while Mary Magdalene twists her face into this scream of anguish,
somehow this emotion will transmit from that sculpture into you,
and that you will feel these things in your heart...
and you will be moved to turn to the priest
who accompanies you on the scaffold, you will confess.
And maybe, just maybe,
this sculpture may help to save your soul.
I think it does achieve what it set out for, doesn't it?
'These sculptures are refined and sophisticated,
'yet unashamedly proud of their roots,
'having grown out of the humblest of materials - the Emilia-Romagna clay itself.'
Well, you can step out of character now.
'What draws me most to this region
'is the beautiful produce that grows out of this soil.
'For 25 years, I've been buying balsamic vinegar tradizionale
'from the Aggazzotti family,
'but until now, I've never met my supplier, Ettore Aggazzotti.'
This is the place where it all happens.
The produce transforms itself
and becomes balsamic vinegar tradizionale.
-The real deal.
-The real deal.
'The Aggazzotti family has been making vinegar since 1714.
'The family has perfected the art of creating a symphony of flavour
'out of the most modest of ingredients.
'Grapes, patience and a colony of bacteria
that vinegar producers call "the mother".'
The mother is a colony of bacteria.
They keep on reforming itself.
Right, so what does the mother do to this liquid?
The natural sugar that there is inside,
the mother transform the sugar into vinegar.
-Bacteria does that by sort of eating it.
So the mother bacteria colony that you still use in every batch...
..was actually first sort of created
and it's still the same bacteria family that's doing it?
Exactly, and this is... That's exactly what the value would be.
The value of the acetaia is on the value of the mother.
If you start tomorrow, you're going to have to wait
-quite a long time before...
'Balsamic vinegar is often swept aside as a simple condiment
'that you use to dip your bread in or throw over a salad.
'But balsamic vinegar tradizionale is very different to normal balsamic vinegar.
'And that's why this tiny bottle of 25-year-old vinegar costs 250 euros.'
The aging factor, I think, is a typical expression of this land -
this patience, this idea of, "I can wait to have something fantastic."
Hmm, that is fantastic, the sweet with the salt,
it's even more intense.
It takes 25 years to get the balsamic out of that barrel, doesn't it?
After 25 years, we actually managed to meet each other.
-Well, here's to both of you - Ettore, Giorgio.
Brindiamo. Facciamo un brindisi!
'This trip to Modena is a dream for me.
'First I get to meet Ettore and now I get to satisfy my second love,
'Modena is the home to Enzo Ferrari,
'and we can't come here without going to visit the new Ferrari museum,
'a testament to his life's work.
'He was obsessed with racing since childhood, and he turned his dream
'into a quest to build the ultimate racing machine.
'Today, Ferrari is famous worldwide.
'Enzo's original workshop and office, founded here in 1929,
'is still standing,
'sheltered by this spectacular museum designed by architect Jan Kaplicky.
'It's a perfect demonstration of how tradition meets modernity
'and technology in this region.'
It's all white, it's like an art gallery, the cars are on plinths.
So beautiful, aren't they?
I think cars deserve to be looked at in terms of, you know...
Especially these cars, look at that beautiful shape...
an aeroplane, almost.
Well, it's funny, I mean we're looking at these cars as if they're sculptures,
but they do actually look like sculptures of the 1940s.
-If you think of Henry Moore if you think of Arc...
That sort of biomorphic that was in the air,
so even the cars are like that.
Even if you're ugly, you look good on this one.
Ferrari seems to me to be the man who almost literally
gives Italy the engine to drive into the future.
'Emilia-Romagna has also given the world Ducati, Maserati, Lamborghini.
'What a roll call for one fairly small region.'
This real modern aesthetic and this culture of design.
Why do you think it flourished in Northern Italy?
I think it's the passion and the drive.
You know, they want to show everybody they could do something
really great, they dream about being.
That's what Enzo Ferrari used to say, "I dream about being Ferrari,
"I dreamt to be Ferrari and I become Ferrari, you know, I dreamt it."
Can you imagine how strong he must have been feeling to dream about it?
-No more Medici, no more...
-No more Medici, no more Este, no more that!
They took the mantle on, and they took it on through
showing something that they could do. So they went forwards with that.
This is so important.
'But these cars weren't just made to be looked at,
'they were designed to be driven.
'Every aspect of these cars is the product of craftsmanship.
'Even today, every engine is signed by the mechanic who put it together.'
I'm crying, it was so good! Oh, that was so good!
You enjoyed it?
Oh, yes, Giorgio, I enjoyed it(!)
I feel my blood is going round!
'Finally, we arrive in Parma, our last stop in Emilia-Romagna.
'This town is famous for the highest-quality delicacies -
'Parma ham, Parmesan cheese.
'And quality control has become a business, too.
'The EU has based its Food Standards Agency in this tiny town.'
Baptistry, Archbishops' Palace, Cathedral.
Beautiful Romanesque cathedral.
'It's not just the food that's world class.'
Giorgio, after you. One of the world's great buildings.
And how cool is it?! It's like instant air conditioning,
you come out of 40 degrees heat and here, you can relax,
you can enjoy, you can see.
'Here in Parma's cathedral is one of the most innovative,
'awe-inspiring works of art of the whole Renaissance.'
So in the 1520s, Antonio Allegri,
detto il Correggio was commissioned to paint the dome of the cathedral.
Right now, you look up to the dome.
And it's showing us the Assumption of the Virgin Mary,
she's being whooshed into heaven after her death.
And she's going to meet her son, Jesus Christ, in heaven.
It's so uplifting, isn't it? it goes like whoosh. Like a spiral.
It's a painting that's meant to make you feel
as if you are being whirled up to heaven.
It does. It does. It really feels like it's lifting you up.
Levitation. But what's amazing about this is that it's ten years
after Michelangelo has finished the Sistine Chapel.
And the people in Parma think,
"We're not going to be outdone by those Romans."
So what they do, this is not a ceiling.
This is not a ceiling, this a dome.
In the past, if they painted a dome,
they just painted it blue with gold stars - heaven.
Correggio set himself the challenge
to paint the Madonna entering heaven.
Was he really appreciated for this? Did people love it?
Well, this is the terrible paradox.
Titian, supposedly the greatest painter in the history of painting...
..he heard about this and he looked at it and said,
"This is incredible. You couldn't pay Correggio enough for this.
"In fact, if you turned that dome upside-down and made it into a bowl,
"and filled it with gold, it wouldn't be enough money."
But the tragedy of it is that the patron,
the Canon of the Cathedral, who was obviously a very conservative man,
he simply said, "It looks like a stew of frog's legs."
That was his judgment, and Correggio finished it in 1530,
it took him eight years from start to end,
-he never got another commission in Parma.
-So it was like, "Thank you very much but no thank you."
Bellissima. Grazie, andiamo.
'Just a little way out of Parma
'is my great friend Massimo Spigaroli's farm.
'Parma is famous for its dried ham
'and I think Massimo's Culatello di Zibello is definitely
'some of the best in the world.
'Culatello is a type of Parma ham
'only made with the finest cut of pork rump.'
So, Massimo, what do we use?
It's very, very simple. Salt, pepper...
Salt and pepper.
..garlic, red wine Fontana, territorio, the bladder.
-Pig's bladder, meat pig.
Meat from the pig, which is a rump, it's the culatello.
What makes this recipe is the fog, is the silent.
These are the ingredients as well of this pig, isn't it?
E tempo - time.
And time, time is what plays, like for the balsamic vinegar,
again the master of time, the master of time.
When they make Ferraris, they master time when they make culatello.
They know how to wait for something
that gets better and better and better.
'The meat is massaged with garlic, and wine,
'then it's covered with salt.
'Finally, it's wrapped tightly in a pig's bladder.
'It's a technique that hasn't changed for centuries.'
That's the same way that his grandfather
-used to make culatello for Giuseppe Verdi.
Giuseppe Verdi, you know, he used to buy culatello from his grandfather.
This is where, actually, the artisan is king, you know.
Fantastic. How long will it be hanging?
It can stay up to two or three years without any problem.
'When it's ready, it's down to the cellar.'
I can smell it.
The march of the pig leads here.
This is the paradise of the pig.
'This cellar has been used to cure culatello for nearly 700 years.'
They're like sleeping bats.
Look at that. Massimo questo e bellissimo.
Questo e il paradiso del maiale, eh? Pig paradise.
Have you seen? Look, Giorgio.
Are these the names of the clients?
E qui e Principe Carlo. That's Prince Charles's one?
And look at that - Prince Albert of Monaco.
-Giorgio Armani has a culatello.
-And look at that.
'This cellar is like a perfectly honed machine.
'To work best, Massimo must keep exactly 5,000 culatello
'hanging in here.'
He decides every day how much to open or close the window.
Depend on the temperature, depend on the humidity.
So the fresh air will come in with the fog, the humidity,
and this activates the noble white mould that gives
that characteristic flavour to the cured meat.
This is the last ingredients coming naturally through the window,
and the man decides how much to expose the culatello to.
-Oooh, that's a perfume of history.
If a woman smelled like that, would be my lover.
Speak for yourself!
We're going to eat it before we get back to London,
I'm not letting you away with that.
'How wonderful that something as simple as fog,
'or even silence, can generate such incredible flavour.
'I've been struck for the first time on this trip that
'the features of the landscape are actually just as important
'to the art of the region.
'The fog that swirls through Correggio's fresco
'in Parma Cathedral, just as it swirls around Massimo's cellar.'
'Centuries-old traditions are vital to this region's livelihood,
'So preserving them is important to everyone who lives here.
'Parma's Palatine library contains a rare historical treasure
'that I'm desperate to get a peek at.'
Wow, that is what I call a library. That's fantastic.
'This book is one of the earliest existing Italian recipe books,
'written in 1680 by Carlo Nascia,
'who was private chef to the Duke Ranuccio Farnese.
'This 400-year-old manuscript has recently been restored.'
This book is very important.
It really tells you what the cookery of that time was like.
Obviously, this is not the cookery of the poor people,
this is the cookery of the rich. The recipes are very simply written,
but it's a very intelligent book
because he has a reference to French food,
he has a reference to Far East food.
So it shows you how sophisticated they were on their taste.
Even that long time ago.
Some of these recipes have just caught my eye, look.
-Don't touch it...
You been to Oxford and you should know that you don't touch
a manuscript, I touch it because I got the gloves.
So get your hands off.
For one time, can I look intelligent and you look like a peasant?
For one time, you know, please, you know. I got the gloves.
Pasticcio di lombo, pasticcio di carne, le torte diverse.
'The Farnese Dukes of the 17th century
'would use these astounding banquets as political tools,
'demonstrating their power and wealth to visiting dignitaries
'who'd be left in awe and wonder.'
This is amazing and the smell of this book, it smells of the kitchen.
'For chefs like Carlo Nascia and Pellegrino Artusi,
'food is not just something to fill up your belly.'
It smells of the kitchen.
'It can also feed the mind and be used to great intellectual ends.'
This is what modern cookery is all about
and this is how we start to learn,
when people like that start to write these books.
'This book has been restored by a group of very special ladies
'who call themselves the Fornello Dining Club.
'They want to ensure that these recipes are kept alive.
'And most importantly, enjoyed!
'For our last meal in Emilia-Romagna they've invited us
'to try out one of Nascia's recipes.'
I'm going to cook something for you,
-which is this really special dish, that is the Rosa di Parma.
-Very simple ingredients, the fillet steak.
-Open up, butterflied open, then we've got some garlic,
some rosemary, some Parma ham, some Parmesan and again...
'Without the efforts of these women,
'this recipe and many others would have been lost forever.
'The fillet is stuffed with Parmesan cheese and Parma ham,
'then rolled and tied.'
Yeah, I love the way the cheese mixes in with the Parma ham
and you get this sweet flavour, and then the wine kicks in.
-With the cream, I mean, this is rich food.
This book proved that the banqueting was something that was not just
about food, was about showing your power, your understanding
of who was sitting around the table, what they were going to eat,
and show them your understanding of the world that surrounds you,
to get things from Genoa, to get things from Venice, from Sicily.
That was a show of power.
'These ladies might be just a bit more glamorous
'than our friends at the fishing hut,
'but the sentiment is the same.
'To keep the heritage and traditions of this region alive.
'Emilia-Romagna is where centuries-old traditions
'have met with the modern world.
'The people here know how to appreciate the silence
'with the speed, richness with simplicity,
'and always with an eye to enjoying life.'
One of the things I was struck by, particularly in Bologna,
which for me was a great rediscovery,
was the extent to which people doing relatively modest occupations
like making pasta or being a barber, managed to carve out for themselves
this fantastic environment to work in.
They've kept that tradition of the small...
Respect of the working person.
Yes, there doesn't have to be a multinational company,
you can stay small and it will still work.
What do you think your abiding memories will be
of this trip through Emilia-Romagna?
Oh, for me, it was just incredible to see these people
and they got such a joy of life on one side,
almost like the southern, you know.
And then on the other side, you have this absolutely tough work ethic.
They can wait for their produce.
You mean the joy of the south and the work ethic of the north...
This theme of patience or, you know, taking a long time
to get something just right, I think it's true of the art as well.
Do you remember that amazing dome painted by Correggio?
Oh, my favourite thing. That was my favourite thing ever!
I never seen anything like that,
that's much better than the Sistine Chapel.
-You think that's much better than the Sistine Chapel?
Spoken like a true northern Italian.
-So where are we going to go next?
-I'm going to take you to Lombardy.
I'm going to take you to my region,
my view of the world started from there.
I want you to have a look at it from that as well.
-So Giorgio's going home.
Andiamo. Push down on the accelerator!
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
On their tour of Northern Italy, Andrew Graham-Dixon and Giorgio Locatelli begin in Emilia-Romagna, the real cornucopia of Italy, an area covered with grain fields during summer, one of richest and more fertile regions in Italy.
The pair start their trip from Bologna, the capital, to discover why the town is called la Dotta (the Learned), la Grassa (the Fat) and la Rossa (the Red). They find the answer to their quest visiting the oldest university in the world, the still-thriving traditional shops and the town art institutions.
Leaving Bologna, Andrew and Giorgio immerse themselves in this beautiful region. The people in Emilia have a strong feeling of friendship and belonging, they love to meet up and spend time together. Giorgio wants to introduce Andrew to 'il Padellone' (the big 'padella', the big frying pan), a shack on the Adriatic Sea at the mouth of the river Po, where the co-owners meet to spend time together while lazily fishing from very big nets.
From there a short journey brings them to Ferrara and the legacy left by the famous dynasty D'Este, and to Modena, home of the famous balsamic vinegar, and of one of the jewels of the Italian manufactory industry - Ferrari cars.
The end of this tour sees Giorgio going to the source of modern Italian cuisine as we know and love - at the Palatina library in Parma he has the chance to admire an original manuscript of Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well by Pellegrino Artusi, the first cook book of the newly-united Italy, while Andrew has his own bliss with the innovative Correggio's fresco of the Madonna ascension in the cathedral dome.