Visions® of Italy: Southern Style returns to public television August 2012

Shot in high-definition from a helicopter-mounted camera, WLIW21’sVisions® of Italy: Southern Style takes viewers on a seamless journey following along the rugged western coastline to the toe of the “boot” at Reggio di Calabria, and then inland over the countryside to Rome.  The program features stunning aerial footage, an informative and poetic narrative celebrating southern Italy’s considerable charms and a soundtrack that resonates with the history and beauty of the region.  Images of Italy no tourist’s camera could capture are set to Neapolitan classics, choral selections, Italian folk songs, and the works of Italian composers such as Rossini, Puccini, and Vivaldi, with Italian-American performers including Connie Francis and Michael Amante.  Visions® of Italy: Southern Style airs nationwide on public television March 2010 (check local listings).

Capri is one of the jewels among the islands of the bustling Naples seaport. CREDIT: WLIW New York

There has never been a show like this because it is nearly impossible to find a helicopter company in Italy willing to go through the difficulty of acquiring the specific permits needed to shoot over Rome!  Precision planning on the ground with compasses determined the best time of day to avoid shadows on the major sites from the many buildings in this densely packed city.  And the results are definitely worth it.  Even those who have been to southern Italy have never seen it like this!

A majority of Italian-Americans can trace their roots to southern Italy, and for many this program will be a first look at the small villages of Il Mezzogiorno – “the midday” – (Puglia, Abruzzi, Basilicata, Campania, Calabria) their ancestors left generations ago, in many ways unchanged by time.  The helicopter flies over the most popular destinations in southern Italy – the romance of the Amalfi Coast (and the hairpin turns of the Amalfi Drive!); the bustling international seaport of Naples and the jewels among its islands, Ischia and Capri; the majesty of Vesuvius; the ruins of Pompeii; Rome’s Scalinata di Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps) and Colosseum– but Visions® of Italy: Southern Style’s flight also reveals extraordinary sights that don’t make most itineraries.

Visions® of Italy: Southern Style also takes viewers over the charming cliffsides of Sorrento and the picturesque fishing ports of Positano, San Marco, Nicotera, Diamante and other stops along the “Calabrian Riviera;” up the “Valley of the Dragon” to towering Ravello; past the pristine Greek temple at Paestum; into the heart of the action at the bustling seaport of Salerno and swordfishing crews at Bagnara Calabra; over the crossroads of Cosenza; around the palace and formal gardens of old Caserta, the abbey at Montecassino, the Pope’s summer residence at Lake Castel Gondolfo, the breathtaking fountains at Tivoli Gardens (Villa D’Este) and, with a bird’s eye view, the striking juxtaposition of ancient and modern Rome.  Viewers see the most well known sites of these cities – but from an unprecedented perspective.

Visions® of Italy: Southern Style originally premiered December 2001 on PBS and is one of many WLIW21 productions that examine Italian culture, heritage and landscapes, including Visions of Italy: The Great Cities – Rome, Florence & NaplesVisions of Italy: Northern StyleVisions of SicilyThe Italian Americans and its sequel. Preview videos and more information on WLIW21’s Visions® series are available at

A production of WLIW21 for WNET.ORG. Executive Producer: Roy A Hammond. Producer/Editor: Roman Brygider. Producer/Writer: Sam Toperoff. Aerial Director: Roy A Hammond. WESCAM operator: Grant Bieman.  This program is made possible in part by a grant from Cavit fine wines from northern Italy.