Episode 1 - Palermo | Monday 7th September at 9pm
Palermo, fit for a Duchess.
Ray visits a cave near the capital Palermo to give us his take on how, according to Greek legend, Odysseus got one over on the Cyclops that captured and ate half his crew. When Ray, Matt and Bruno hit town they find themselves at the very centre of an ancient, noisy and unique city. They discover Palermo’s markets and its traders, they try the opera (not a great success) and charm a Duchess. And they meet Manfredi Barbera, Sicily’s biggest olive oil exporter, who shows them a tree that’s a thousand years old and still producing olives.
Episode 2 - Cefalu and the Aeolian Islands | Monday 14th September at 9pm
Cefalu and the Islands in the Sun.
Ray and Matt take a train along Sicily’s west coast to the medieval city of Cefalu to meet Joe, first generation Sicilian and one of Ray’s oldest friends. The trio visit a snail farm, eat some snail eggs and smother themselves in snail cream (which proves very popular with the local wasps). A short road trip leads them to an idyllic vineyard and a wine tasting with another old friend Vito, a master winemaker. Then it’s on to the ancient castle of Milazzo to hear stories of pirates and kings and gruesome deaths. They take to the ocean to visit the Aeolian island of Lipari.
Episode 3 - Catania | Monday 21st September at 9pm
Catania and the Godfather’s Cannoli.
Ray takes some advice from a ‘consigliere’ at the palace where the Godfather movies were shot. An offer he can’t refuse is a visit to Bourbon city of Catania. He and the gang eat their way through the world-famous fish market before taking in the city’s sights. Ray meets up with his daughter, Jamie Winstone, and his grandson before heading to the summit of Mount Etna – still a live volcano - to experience otherworldly landscapes and views. Taormina has been a holiday destination for thousands of years, and it’s where the chaps learn how to make cannoli - Don Corleone’s favourites.
Episode 4 - Syracuse | Monday 28th September at 9pm
Eureka! Ray and the weapons of war.
Syracuse is one of the most beautiful cities on the island, and the place where Archimedes first shouted “Eureka!” as he took one of the most important baths in history. Ray and friends try out some of the Greek hero’s war machines, meet a woman who declares her love for Ray in a poem and make their escape via a puppet theatre, a cheese shop and arguably the best restaurant of the entire tour. Quite a bit later the next day - they travel to a World War II battleground and hear how Montgomery, Patton and a Chicago gangster teamed up to help win the war.
Episode 5 - Marsala | Monday 5th October at 9pm
More wine, salty stories and annoying the neighbours.
Temples dominate the city of Agrigento. Ray and his pals brave the heat to hear about Zeus, his wife, and a marital row that led to the creation of the Milky Way. On their way to the ancient port of Masala they discover the fishing village of Sciacca and its mouth-watering secret. Marsala is known for wine - the gang take a tour of one of the island’s biggest winemakers. Then it’s down the coast to Lo Stagnone, where salt has been manufactured for more than three thousand years and where Dionysus annoyed the neighbours with some parties so wild that the locals are still talking about them today.
Episode 6 - Cianciana | Monday 12th October at 9pm
Ray picks up a shotgun, throws a party and ends his grand tour in Cianciana.
Far away from the tourist trail, our heroes experience the warmth of true Sicilian hospitality – from shepherds, bar owners and barbers right up to the Mayor. Bruno tries to milk a goat, and everyone tastes some cheese. Ray stars as a clay pigeon shooter and Matt does not. The boys meet an artist in an amphitheatre built above one of the most spectacular views in the world, let alone the island. Then it’s all back to Ray’s place - Bruno cooks a barbecue, the band begins to play, and friends and family gather to answer the question, ‘what makes Sicily special?’.