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It might seem an unlikely format for a comedy series but The Trip, which saw Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon eating their way around northern England while indulging in unscripted banter and competitive Michael Caine impersonations, was a big hit. Now the pair are back for a second helping, against the somewhat sunnier backdrop of the Italian coast.
The six-part series follows Coogan and Brydon as they embark on a road-trip from Piedmont, in the north of Italy, south to Capri. Ostensibly, they are travelling in the footsteps of romantic poets Shelley and Byron but, in reality, the food is the star of the show. The trip starts with a lingering lunch at the acclaimed Trattoria della Posta (trattoriadellaposta.it) in Langhe, 40km east of Cuneo, where they try guinea fowl and the local Barolo wine.
In a nod to The Italian Job (1969), the pair have chosen a Mini Cooper for their journey through sun-soaked vineyards. Elite Rent-a-Car (eliterent.com) hires out four different Mini models in Italy, including convertibles like the one driven by Coogan and Brydon (from €140 a day).
There’s time for a brief stop at Byron’s house in Genoa before heading south to the Italian Riviera and the charming seaside village of Camogli, where terracotta-coloured houses cling to steep hillsides overlooking the aptly named Golfo Paradiso. Nearby, the fishing hamlet of San Fruttuoso is a picture-perfect setting for a plate of fritto misto on the beach at La Cantina (www.lacantinasanfruttuoso.it).
Continuing their grand tour, Coogan and Brydon drive through the rolling hills of Tuscany, before stopping off in Pisa and then Rome, where they visit the Protestant Cemetery where Shelley’s ashes are buried, the Colosseum and the Spanish Steps, and enjoy a meal at German chef Oliver Glowig’s two Michelin-starred restaurant (oliverglowig.com) near Villa Borghese.
Next stop is the Amalfi coast, where the highlights include a visit to Pompeii and a long, boozy lunch on the terrace of the elegant Villa Cimbrone hotel in Ravello. The trip ends in Capri with yet another memorable meal, this time at Il Riccio, the breezy seafront restaurant of the Capri Palace Hotel.
Where to stay
In Camogli, Brydon and Coogan stayed at the seafront Cenobio dei Dogi (www.cenobio.it), which has elegant bedrooms and access to a private beach (doubles from €190). Villa Cimbrone (villacimbrone.com) in Ravello, a medieval palazzo perched above the Gulf of Salerno, has played host to many illustrious guests, from Virginia Woolf and DH Lawrence to Winston Churchill (doubles from €360). The Capri Palace Hotel (capripalace.com) is the grand dame of Italian hotels, with a spa, Michelin-starred restaurant and exclusive beach club (from €395). Tour operator Citalia (citalia.com) can provide a tailor-made self-drive holiday from Liguria to Capri with prices from £1,335pp for nine nights.
‘The Trip to Italy’ is being screened by the BBC in the UK; it will be shown in Australia and the US next month, and other countries later in the year