The actor Stanley Tucci lives in England and has a CNN show, Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy, about exploring the country—and it seems that finally, the European approach to leisure might be sinking in. “There is a very distinctly different mindset about when to stop working and take a little time for yourself and to be with your family or friends. Almost 50 percent of vacation time that is given to Americans goes unused,” says Tucci. “I don't know why, but to me embracing that wonderful, more European way of life is pretty great. You need that time in the afternoon to relax.”
Condé Nast Traveler spoke with Tucci, who’s partnering with S.Pellegrino for their campaign urging folks to summer like an Italian (that is, by taking a whole month off), to discuss the area of Italy he could never tire of, in-flight champagne, and why his vacation rentals require a high-quality kitchen.
How he spends flight time:
I usually watch movies, because I'm very bad about sitting down and watching movies during my actual life. I just watched a really high-octane action movie, the James Bond movie again, flying to Montreal. I loved it. It's just fantastic. Coming back from Atlanta, I watched three documentaries, [including ones] on Julia Child, and on Shane MacGowan—the lead singer of the Pogues.
His travel pet peeves:
The way that people dress. I mean, everybody's dressed like a nine year old. And you think, but you're not nine years old! You're a person. Put a shirt on, wear a pair of shoes. Why do you have to wear sweats? Even my children, my older children—I’m like, "You can't dress like that on a plane." But that's a very old fashioned way of thinking. You always got dressed up to travel. I still do. I'll sometimes just wear a suit on a plane. I've become a little less severe as I've gotten older, but I will always have a jacket.
His memory of his first first-class flight:
The first time I rode in first class, I was doing a television job and I think I must've flown to Las Vegas. It was in the 1980s and I just couldn't believe it. My seat was bigger than my apartment. It was amazing. You always got champagne and caviar and the little egg chopped up. It was really, really elegant.
His advice for traveling through Italy this summer:
Find a place that's more off the beaten track. Go to Rome for a little bit and then find a place outside [of the city]—get an Airbnb or a rental, a villa or something like that, or a little hotel. In Italy now, all these agriturismos are really quite wonderful and affordable. I think that's a really nice way for people to explore Italy.
The places in Italy he still has yet to see:
I don't think I've ever been to Abruzzo. I'm going to Sardinia, where I've been once before, and Liguria to film those two regions starting next week. We won't have done every single region. It's too much to do, but we'll have done a total of about 13 or 15 of them. There are still so many different cities in Italy that I want to visit that I haven't ever been to.