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Andrew Graham-Dixon and Giorgio Locatelli explore the culture and history of Italy. The second leg of their journey takes Giorgio home, to Lombardy.

The second leg of Andrew Graham-Dixon and Giorgio Locatelli's journey takes Giorgio home to Lombardy, a region brimming with engineering innovations and the influences brought by the proximity to northern Europe, always with an eye to the future.

The first stop is of course Corgeno, Giorgio's hometown, where Andrew is the guest at a typical Sunday lunch at the Locatelli home.

Andrew repays him with a visit to some very unusual frescos by Lorenzo Lotto, hidden in a private chapel. The Christ with long fingernails is one of Andrew's favourite frescos.

And then it is time to reach Milan, the capital of the region, with its temples dedicated to the gods of religion, The Duomo; art, La Scala; and capitalism, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and the surrounding streets which are full of luxury shops.

At his restaurant inside La Scala, the chef Gualtiero Marchesi, father of the modern Italian cuisine, would intrigue his customers with a risotto made with saffron and gold.

But Milan is not just about beauty and style, it has a dark centre. It is an arena of extreme political contrasts. Fascism was very strong here and so was the opposition to it. In Milan the futurist movement embraced the world of modern art and expressed the violence that would shape modern Italy under Fascism - a dark but fascinating story that Andrew and Giorgio investigate with a visit to the Museum of 900.

More amazing art is waiting for them outside Milan in the gem that is Mantua, a town full of mesmerizing buildings. Among those, the diamond in the crown is Palazzo Te, a former hunting lodge built for the amusement of the Duke Federico Gonzaga and his guests, designed and covered in frescos by Giulio Romano, a disciple of Raphael.

And to end this fascinating trip another well-kept secret: Cremona, hometown to the one of the most famous luthiers in the world, Antonio Stradivari, where Giorgio and Andrew have the privilege of witnessing a very private concert.

First shown: 18 Jan 2013
Available for 26 days Why? Duration 60 mins