Stanley Tucci Shares His Favorite Restaurants in Italy and More

Plus, the author and awarding-winning show host shares the number one recipe he hopes to pass down through his family.

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A portrait of Stanley Tucci
Photo: Stanley Tucci

Stanley Tucci is a man of many talents. He is an award-winning actor, host of the CNN series Searching for Italy and author of the acclaimed Taste: My Life Through Food (buy it: $28, Through his show and book, Tucci has spent his years diving into his Italian heritage and sharing the romance and flavor that Italian food can bring to your life.

Recently, Tucci partnered with San Pellegrino for a limited-edition Stan Pellegrino (get it?) bottle set. This set comes with an engraved bottle of San Pellegrino sparkling mineral water, a pair of stemless glasses and a San Pellegrino wooden cutting board (you can enter here for your chance to win one of the sets). We caught up with Stanley about this partnership, his show and all things Italian cuisine.

Q: Here at EatingWell, we love your show Searching for Italy and can't wait for season two. What has been your favorite part of sharing the first season of the show and preparing for the second?

I love meeting all the contributors and getting to see places I normally would not go or have access to. I also love that it has encouraged people to visit Italy, especially after the awful two years we have all gone through.

Q: What are some of the main things you look forward to when you travel to Italy?

[I look forward to] the warmth of the people and the depth of the food. It never ceases to amaze me how each region is so varied in landscape, people and cuisine.

Q: What are some of the first things you do when arriving in Italy for a visit?

I like to arrive in time for either a big lunch or a big dinner. Each region has its own unique dishes, so I will usually have whatever is recommended locally.

Q: What is a typical day of eating (and drinking) like for you when you're in Italy?

[A typical day starts with] exercise and a very light breakfast with good espresso. Then I'll have a huge lunch and a huge dinner with great wine! When we are filming in Italy, we like to find a local restaurant in whichever city or town we are in and tend to revisit it for dinner often so it feels like a home away from home. When we are moving around a lot, it's nice to have familiarity.

Q: If there was one restaurant in Italy that you could transport to right now, where would you go and what would you order?

[I would go to] Lo Scoglio on the Amalfi Coast and [I would order] spaghetti con zucchine alla nerano. It's hard to beat.

Q: Do you have a favorite gelato shop? And what is your favorite gelato flavor?

I am not a big getalo eater, but probably Vivoli in Florence.

Q: Let's talk about the Italian virtues and the tenets of Italian life that have been formative to you over your years of travel. Are there any practices from Italy that you try to incorporate into your life?

The most important thing [to me] is preparing meals for family and friends consistently and spending time around the table together in all seasons. The rest of one's life radiates from that.

Q: What is one recipe that you hope to pass down someday?

The Tucci ragu! Practically every Sunday morning of my childhood, I would wake up to the smell of this cooking. Even today if I am with my parents, it's our go-to Sunday meal.

Q: I see that you've partnered with San Pellegrino to launch the limited-edition Stan Pellegrino bottle set. Can you tell us a bit about this decision? What are some things that drew you to the partnership?

San Pellegrino approached me to partner with them, and it was an easy decision because I have been drinking it for years. I loved the idea of the bottle set because it's very tongue-in-cheek.

As if we weren't yearning enough to book a flight, Tucci's guide to Italy sounds like a dream (and his Stan Pellegrino bottle set would be a perfect afternoon pick-me-up). The last question we asked Stanley was what eating well means to him, to which he shared, "living a long, happy life." We couldn't have said it better ourselves!

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