If you’re looking for a great Italy podcast, you’ve come to the right place! In fact, I have two podcasts about Italy of my own, but I can also suggest a few other Italy travel podcasts hosted by friends of mine who offer diverse perspectives on Italian food, culture, language and history.
In my opinion, the best Italian podcasts strive to offer an honest assessment of life in Italy, and also, advice on how to make the most of your time while enjoying that bucket list trip. Too often, details are sugar-coated, which I feel is unnecessary. Some of the “challenges” of traveling within Italy are the very things that make for a memorable vacation.
Or maybe better still, an Italy travel podcast can momentarily transport you to your favorite Italian location, and you can dream of Italy no matter where you are in the world. So, without further ado, put your earbuds in and let’s review…
The Best Italy Podcasts!
(Ahem… so just to be clear, these certainly are NOT in any specific order. I only mention my own first since they are the ones that I’m most familiar with.)
However, there are so many great podcasts about Italy travel and culture, that it is probably best to decide which aspect of Italian living that attracts you the most and start there. My original podcast is very general, covering every topic. My latest Italian food podcast focuses only on Italian cuisine and the Mediterranean Diet. Whatever your tastes, there is an entire history of Italy podcasts to choose from.
The Fatal Charm of Italy Podcast with Rick Zullo (yours truly).
The Fatal Charm of Italy is a podcast about Italy that explores the deeper layers of the Italian experience, whether you’re a would-be expat, heart-sick traveler, or armchair Italy daydreamer. It’s a sincere look at all of the aspects of Italian life that enchant us… but also those things that frustrate us.
With my guests, we explore everything from intercultural relationships, to regional Italian cuisine, to language challenges, to finding off-beat locations to visit. NO holds barred! (And please don’t be offended if we break the “perfect” images of Italy that the world has invented.)
It is currently ranked as one of the best Italian podcasts on Spotify, so if you’re on that platform check it out here: Fatal Charm of Italy on Spotify
By the way, I LOVE talking to people about Italy on my podcasts! So if you have an interesting angle, story, or pitch related to Italy, travel, or a specific aspect of Italian culture, get in touch with me! [email protected]
Based on the total number of downloads taken from my SoundCloud dashboard, these are the most popular episodes:
Eat Like an Italian Podcast with Rick Zullo
Join me over on my food blog as we discuss the many benefits of a Mediterranean Diet. We will talk about not only the “What” and “How,” but we will also dive into the “Why” and the scientific research behind it.
The Mediterranean Lifestyle offers cuisine that is both delicious and healthy. Let’s attempt to incorporate the wisdom of generations past into our modern routines in order to live our best lives. Buon appetito!
And again, here are the most popular episodes:
Other (Better?) Podcasts About Italy
OK, now onto the higher quality podcasts! Many of these are my friends, and a few times we have been guests on each other’s shows. Others are merely ones that have caught my attention because the subject matter is close to my heart.
Disgraces on the Menu
Not surprising, many of my favorite Italy podcasts are focused on food, and Paolo’s is one of the best. He and I have chatted at length, and it’s always interesting because we come from opposite perspectives. He’s an Italian who emigrated to North America, and I’m from the U.S. and I went the other direction back to Italy. But somehow, our paths merge to the same point when discussing “Italian” food.
In his own words…
As (over)stated in the tag line: Fixing Italian food around the world, this explains the difference between what is known as “Italian food,” and the food of Italy.
It began out of frustration. I have never had chicken on pasta when I was in Italy – and, yet, chicken pasta is a popular “Italian classic” in North America. It’s bad enough to have “Italian” dishes that don’t actually exist in Italy (try ordering Linguini Alfredo in an Italian restaurant!), but what is even more upsetting is when the basic pillars of Italian cuisine are completely ignored, when its simplicity and balance are lost in the attempt to cram in as many flavors as possible.
Real Italian food celebrates quality ingredients, expertly paired so that they play off each other. I don’t see that in a tomato sauce made with 10 different spices, a tablespoon of sugar and a head of garlic!
After my initial rant, however, I shifted my focus on researching why certain ingredients in North America are treated so differently from their Italian counterparts. Why are tomatoes nothing more than a garnish for hamburgers? Why when I lived in Italy hadn’t I heard of Canola? Why does fresh milk last 3 weeks instead of 3 days? The blog became more “scientific,” and started to require far more research.
Have a listen for yourself!
Random Episode: What makes a dish Italian? With Eva from Electric Blue Food
Flavor of Italy Podcast
Here’s another great one about food, “The Flavor of Italy Podcast,” impressively publishing a new episode once a week on a regular basis.
From the website description:
“Always out and about meeting local farmers & purveyors, restaurateurs & winery owners, authors and designers, artists, musicians, cultural icons, and exploring unique travel destinations. I visit small towns and villages, the less traveled areas of the Eternal City, the Lazio region and throughout Italy. Each and every person I encounter has a unique and fascinating story to tell.”
Random Episode: Sicilian Food & The Monsù Cuisine
This one caught my attention because I studied Italian Literature when I went back to University as a 40-something to get a second Bachelor’s Degree (for some reason). The classes were all taught in Italian, and I had some amazing professors that made the pages come to life with their passion and knowledge.
The episode from this podcast that I’ve highlighted is about Manzoni’s I promessi sposi, arguably the most important work of Italian literature when you consider not only its literary contribution, but its role in steering the direction of the language itself. I also have talked about this at some length, such as in my discussion of the many dialects in Italy.
Anne and Jim host Literary Italy, “a joyous romp through the books and the landscape of the bel paese. Join us as we share our love of the literature, the people, the land, and the experience that is Italy.”
Have a listen for yourself…
Random Episode: Ep. 37: I Promessi Sposi / Lake Como
The Bittersweet Life
Admittedly, what first grabbed my attention about this podcast was the artwork they borrowed from a few of the Caravaggio Paintings in Rome. I’m obsessed with Caravaggio, so naturally I had to check it out.
And I must say, I love it. They make a great team, each adding their own flavor to the conversation. I enjoyed a recent episode where they discussed the cons (and yes, pros) of visiting Italy during the pandemic, and how the Covid crisis might just change the very nature of Italy’s tourism industry.
Here’s what they say about their own show…
“What began as a podcast about what it means to live abroad has become a dynamic examination of what it means to live. NPR veteran Katy Sewall and long-time expat in Italy Tiffany Parks guide you on a vulnerable, entertaining, and irreverent journey to discover a more wondrous and adventurous life.
“Our topic-based conversations, famous guests, and visits to Rome will tweak how you see the world, keep you company, and challenge you to step out of your comfort zone. Whether you live abroad, dream of living abroad, or just want to live life more fully wherever you are, join us for lively conversation every week.”
Random Episode(s): https://thebittersweetlife.net/rome/
The 30-Minute Italian
OK, if we’re going to Italy, eating Italian food, exploring all the art and culture… we should speak at least some of the language, no?
Cher Hale and I have been virtually connected through our shared love of the language for several years. We’ve been guests on each other’s shows, and I’ve always admired her approach to learning la bella lingua.
Cher started “Italian with Cher” (formerly The Iceberg Project) in 2012 driven by a completely irrational passion for the Italian language and culture. She believes that every home needs a constant supply of pecorino cheese and wine, and at the end of her life, wants to be known for spreading smiles like wildfire.
And don’t be intimidated, it’s one of the best Italian podcasts for beginners. So jump right in! How about starting with this one?
Random(?) Episode: Sexy Phrases to Seduce Your Italian Lover
Untold Italy Podcast
Join the hosts on a virtual trip to the land of stunning landscapes, ancient sites, and a whole lot of pasta!
They want to help you dream of Italy and help you plan, so that all your dreams of sauntering in the sun with your daily gelato come true.
If you’re dreaming of those cobbled streets, ancient sites, picturesque towns, and sipping chianti then join them on their podcast and escape to Italy for a few moments each week.
Random Episode: Beyond The Cinque Terre: Exploring Liguria
Italy Podcasts… Until You Return in Person
Well, these should keep you busy for a while. Certainly this list is not exhaustive, and there are some great Italian podcasts that I just didn’t have time to review.
If you have a favorite that I didn’t mention, please let me know and I’ll add it to this list. And again, if you’d like to be a guest, please don’t hesitate to reach out. [email protected]