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The old is new. Ditching conventional careers, a generation of hip young Italians is rediscovering the grand tradition of “Made in Italy”.  Hamish Macdonald takes an exhilarating road trip to meet them.



Not even a big recession could take the fizz out of La Dolce Vita, Italy’s beloved good life.  



Just the opposite, it seems.



Bleak career prospects are nudging an army of educated young Italians to go back to their roots and turn a euro out of home and hearth, food and culture.



“I kind of like the fact that now I’m making real products. Before I was selling contracts and ideas and a lot of hot air,” says Guido Pallini, who threw in his career as a banker to return to his dad’s farm in Tuscany.



He still applies that business brain. His dad used to sell his buffaloes’ milk. Now Guido adds value by turning it into the finest cheeses - traditional mozzarella and ricotta plus a whole range of experimental types.



“Selling mozzarella, you see the smile on their faces when they bite,” he tells reporter Hamish Macdonald.



Guido wants to crack the US market – but to do so he must impress cashed-up American buyers at the world’s biggest craft cheese fair. To see how he goes, Macdonald goes along with him.





Guido is part of a movement that is seeing the number of young people working in agriculture starting to grow. About 50,000 young Italians are now running farm businesses.



…Like Nico Laguzzi, a law student who saw no future for himself and decided to join brother Filippo back on the family plot near Turin. With a team of volunteers they’re doing all manner of things, from selling organic veggies to making craft beer from the hops they grown themselves.



“Our dream may be crazy - so a lot of people are crazy with us!” Filippo says. Profits still elude them. “But,” says Filippo, “you can make money by selling a little bit of beauty.”



That’s how Carolina Cuomo sees things too. The ex-psychologist got browned off with spasmodic work and turned to an artisanal passion – shoes. Not sensible black flatties. Ornate, exquisite, seriously expensive heels. She designs and hand-makes them from her base outside Naples.



“It’s lovely delivering them to the client. There are people who cry when they see them,” she says as she shows Macdonald her personal summer collection – all 110 pairs.



“When I touch these shoes I feel their spirit, their soul, as if they’re alive. I know everything about this shoe – how it was born, its history, as if it were a human being. And I assure you that this is a lovely person.”




In The New Italian Job Hamish Macdonald explores a hipster revolution led by young Italians who are finding beauty as they re-embrace tradition. 


Rome GVs



Wedding photos being taken on street

HAMISH MACDONALD:  We all know Italy is a special place – the beautiful streets, the history, the romance – they really do know how to live the good life here. 


MacDonald on motor scooter

Lately, the country’s been doing it tough, especially young people.  Youth unemployment here sits at a whopping 35%. But ever so slowly, something is changing.


Drone shot MacDonald on motor scooter through countryside



Episode teaser

HAMISH MACDONALD:  Tonight, we’re taking you on an Italian road trip and it’s an absolute cracker, to meet some incredible young people fighting to keep the dream alive. 



NICOLA LAGUZZI: “It’s a crazy dream because one life it’s not enough”. [laughs]






HAMISH MACDONALD:  It’s the dream of an Italy that makes stuff, the best stuff the world has to offer. 



CAROLINA CUOMO: [subtitles] “This is possibly the most beautiful love story of my life so far – the shoes and me”.






HAMISH MACDONALD:  And if they can do it well…



GUIDO: “I really believe this cheese can have a good success”.



HAMISH MACDONALD: … they might just turn their country around. 





MacDonald to camera on motorbike. Super:

HAMISH MACDONALD:  “The big challenge for these young Italians is to marry the old with the new, the tradition with innovation.  But can they really rebuild their country with beer and wine and cheese and shoes?”





GFX Title:



Drone shots. Guido on horseback. Herding cattle




HAMISH MACDONALD:  Forget Texan cowboys, this is a Tuscan cowboy – well sort of.  This is Guido.  A few years ago, he was riding the markets  as a banker in London.  Today, he’s back home on the family farm herding buffalo and trying to build a business.



GUIDO: “We had a very humble origin.  My family has been here more than two centuries. 


Guido interview

We started off as shepherds in the area around Sienna.  I’m following a family tradition”. 


Guido on horseback. Herding cattle

HAMISH MACDONALD:  Four years ago, his father, in his eighties, finally began thinking about retirement.  It meant a big decision for Guido.


Guido interview

GUIDO: “I would like to stay on in banking but this is the time, you know it’s the time for me to do this adventure and so I came back.  It was not like something I did without any thought because for a thirty-year-old, or like a twenty-six-year-old at that time, leaving London for a provincial little town in Tuscany, millions of people for like sixty thousand people here, was not easy. 


Guido on horseback

So I picked up the farm for my father and I kind of transformed it into something which I thought would be more sustainable in the future”.


MacDonald on motor scooter to visit Guido




HAMISH MACDONALD: I’m coming to meet Guido at the family farm, outside Grosseto in Tuscany. 



For decades, young people have been deserting these lands, but Guido is bucking that trend.  In the past 4 years the number of under thirty-fives working on the land in Italy has actually started to grow. 







MacDonald on farm with Guido. Buffalo in for milking

[on the farm] “And they’re milked what, a couple of times a day?”


GUIDO: “Twice a day.  See that’s the bull and he knows he kind of has to not go into the milking”.


HAMISH MACDONALD: “Yeah, right”.



GUIDO: “We actually have 650 at the moment.  We make cheese with their milk and we also make renewable energy with all the waste and by-products of the farm”.



HAMISH MACDONALD: Now you’re about to meet a bloke in a turban.  Indian Sikhs came to Italy back in the ‘80s and ‘90s.  They’re now firmly established in the Italian cheese making community.


Guido and Sikh steering buffalo

GUIDO: “They’re quite territorial as you can see and these are the older bulls.  Be careful!  Be careful!  Come here, come here”.



HAMISH MACDONALD: “Don’t they know who’s in charge here?”


GUIDO: “They I think you know they can discuss that but… they’re not used to seeing all these people around”.





Buffalo milking

[in cheese factory] “This is mozzarella in the making?”


GUIDO: “Yes.  This is step, I would say step one making the milk for the mozzarella”.


HAMISH MACDONALD: When Guido took over,



he introduced cheese making.  His father had focused on producing buffalo milk to ship to cheese makers in the south where mozzarella is traditionally made. 


Cheese making process

Now, it all happens on site from teat to table. 



[in cheese factory] “This is where the magic happens?”


GUIDO: “This is where the magic happens, yes. 



Most of our process is hand made because like in industrial farms, the stretching is done by machine.  This is what defines the mozzarella.  It’s called a stretched base cheese and so he’s mixing 90 degree/100 degree water with the curd and he’s making the curd drink water. 



That’s why when you cut mozzarella it’s going to be full of liquid.  This is like






Tasting the mozzarella

just the base, there is no salt to it. It’s quite gummy”.


HAMISH MACDONALD: “Yes is sort of tastes like chewing gum”.


GUIDO: “Yeah and it’s like a milk chewing gum basically, but then like it will take the salt from the water. Give it 24 hours to get softer and to get saltier. 


HAMISH MACDONALD: “I was going to say thank God for the salt”.


Cheese making continues

Today they’re producing 400 kilos of the stuff and it’s been a huge mission just to get to this point.  As well as making mozzarella, Guido is experimenting – making classic cow’s milk cheeses with his buffalo milk. Turning this business around, isn’t just about embracing tradition, it’s about adapting it and innovating.  And his latest creation is about to be put to the test at the world’s biggest artisanal cheese festival. 


Guido explaining new cheeses

GUIDO: “So the new cheese we will be presenting this year is this one you see in various batches.  This cheese is inspired by French reblochon. Reblochon is a washed rind, quite strong cheese and we are the only buffalo cheese producer to do this kind of cheese”.





HAMISH MACDONALD: “So this is an example of where you’re kind of screwing with the tradition?”


GUIDO: “Yes, exactly.  This is an example -- we’ve borrowed a French recipe, we are applying it to buffalo milk”.


HAMISH MACDONALD: He wants to take his cheese to the world,



but it’s a competitive market and he’s a new player.


“You’re very excited about these cheeses though, why?”



GUIDO: “I’m very excited because no one has it.  Like it’s the first time it’s been done, plus I think that it’s always good, you know, when you go to this trade show to bring something new”.


Guido herding buffalo



MacDonald at lunch with Guido and family

HAMISH MACDONALD: This is a family business so it’s time to meet la famiglia and to try some of the good stuff.








Cheese platter

GUIDO: “So what we have here is a series of buffalo cheeses.  I think the most distinctive is clearly mozzarella because when you think about buffalo cheese, it’s mozzarella di buffala.  Then we have ricotta, which is actually where we’re going to start our tasting, because if there is a rule for cheese, is that you have to go from the less tasty to the more tasty, because if you start the other way around you’re not going to taste”.


HAMISH MACDONALD: “We’re building up”.


GUIDO: “Exactly, exactly”.


Guido’s family at lunch

HAMISH MACDONALD: This is Guido’s sister, Matidia, an architect based in Paris and this is his mother and business partner, Diana.













“You’ve been here for 40 years”.


DIANA: “Forty-two”.


HAMISH MACDONALD: ‘But you weren’t always making cheese”.


DIANA: “No”.


HAMISH MACDONALD: “So why not before?”


DIANA: “It was his idea. 


Cheese tasting

When Guido come in the farm, he spoke to us about opening a farm cheese and we decide to this new adventure”.



GUIDO: “Yeah I kind of like the fact that now I’m making concrete products.  Before I was selling like contracts and ideas and like a lot of hot air.  Actually, selling mozzarella, which is something that people can enjoy and like you see the smile on their faces when they bite it, it’s a better thing”.



HAMISH MACDONALD:  Guido isn’t the only one to spot the opportunity.  At the start of last year, the number of young farmers rose almost 10% on the previous year and the number of farming businesses now run by young people in Italy, stands at 50,000.



Matidia at lunch

MATIDIA: “I think the more you go abroad, and more you think about what you have and what you have left.  I see also my friends that most like that went away and went to live in London, after 10 years they’re all coming back”.


Guido at lunch

GUIDO: “I think it’s important for them to have that experience, come back, apply it to Italy and you know let’s hope we can make it a better country because like we really, we deserve it even though like it’s not going in that direction yet”. 


Lunch continues

HAMISH MACDONALD: “Was there a lot of pressure from you and your husband to make this decision?”


DIANA: “No. I just have one day talk with him and told him Guido, if the bank is your life, go.  He think for two months and decide”.


HAMISH MACDONALD: “And how did you feel?”


DIANA: “I was very happy”.









HAMISH MACDONALD: “Do you get stuck into him if you think he’s doing the wrong thing?”


DIANA: “Yes.  I’m not so… so… mummy in this.  I’m not soft.


GUIDO: “You’re not soft… and you don’t have to be”.


DIANA: “If I don’t like something I’m very stern”.


HAMISH MACDONALD: “So they’ve been some bust ups?”


DIANA: “Sometimes, not very often”.


Lunch continues

GUIDO: “I don’t think like, bust up is a bit like even excessive.  I think there’s been...”


DIANA: “Discussions”.


GUIDO: “… discussions, constructive discussions and, you know, sometimes she’s turned out to be right about things.  Sometimes it’s me, but that’s part of the game”.


Guido loads truck with cheese

HAMISH MACDONALD: After all the hard work Guido’s moment of truth has arrived.  He’s heading north to the cheese festival in Bra. 





Guido in truck en route to festival

GUIDO: “I think, you know, if we already can find a few important clients for our size company, it’s going to be more than fine”.



HAMISH MACDONALD: We’ll find out later if Guido’s gamble will pay off, but first we’re off to meet a woman on the move, taking big risks to create her own future.


Shoes/ Carolina walks




CAROLINA CUOMO: [subtitle] “When I touch these shoes I feel their spirit, their soul, because it’s as if they were alive”.


Carolina in to shoe closet

HAMISH MACDONALD: “This is Carolina Cuomo.  At 39 she is a passionate woman and more passionate about shoes than anything else.  



CAROLINA CUOMO: [subtitle] “I know everything about this shoe – how it was born, its history, as if it were a person. And I assure you this is a lovely person”. 






HAMISH MACDONALD: This is her own collection.  She doesn’t just wear them though, she makes them from scratch.



CAROLINA CUOMO: [subtitle] “So, I think there are 110 pairs, and it’s only the summer collection. Then there’s the winter one.  I change them every time”.



MacDonald on scooter through factories/Walking Sirignano

HAMISH MACDONALD: Carolina is part of a generation of young Italians rediscovering the grand tradition of “Made in Italy”.  Her workshop is in Sirignano, about an hour from Naples, close to some of the big factories that once drove Italy’s economy.  Many of them are now empty.


Carolina sketching shoe

CAROLINA CUOMO: [subtitle] “So I don’t design for a brand of my own, I design for the client.  I’m a shoe designer who works to order”.


Carolina with client

HAMISH MACDONALD:  Carolina’s shoes are expensive.  They start at about seven hundred Aussie dollars, but a handcrafted shoe is something very special. 



CAROLINA CUOMO: [subtitle] “I put the client at the centre of my business, the client’s requirements so to speak. 


Carolina interview

The client wants a particular show that won’t be found in a shop, so she has to come to me, because she wants that special colour, that heel height… basically I put together the client’s requirements and make up a design”.


Carolina at home with kids

HAMISH MACDONALD: Carolina is a single mother.  She manages the home and the thriving new business.  Things have changed a lot for her.  She trained as a psychologist but like so many of her generation, she couldn’t find a stable job.





Carolina interview

CAROLINA CUOMO: [subtitle] “In the end I said for heaven’s sake, I love shoes – why don’t I give that a go?  A show has its own story too, I mean we Italians are famous around the world for our shoes.  It would be great to bring back that tradition”.



HAMISH MACDONALD: “What’s been the most difficult moment in this whole process?”



CAROLINA CUOMO: [subtitle] “I started it with my now ex-husband.  He’s someone who helped me a lot in getting it organised. Then he said: ‘Either you go ahead on your own and I leave, or else I stay but you give up this dream, because it’s something bigger than you.  I could never handle it’. And that was possibly the worst moment of my life, because obviously, he left. 


Carolina dances tango

In recent years I must say I’ve discovered another great passion, and that’s the tango. Because it’s a dance that allows you basically to release your energies”.



HAMISH MACDONALD: The business of being a small business in Italy today is a complicated dance.  The same chronically weakened system that Carolina is trying to move around, doesn’t seem to want to dance in step with her plans.


Carolina interview

CAROLINA CUOMO: [subtitle] “They must help us to be competitive in the world market, otherwise we are destined to die”.





HAMISH MACDONALD: It’s lucky the shoes, just like the tango, are all about passion.  For all the rules, complications and bureaucracy, the skill of Carolina’s footwork goes a long way.


MacDonald on scooter




HAMISH MACDONALD:  At times it’s hard to see why anyone here would have much to complain about or why they’d ever want to leave.  In the hills of Moncalieri, just outside of Turin,


Laguzzi brothers with goats

are two brothers with a big and possibly crazy dream.


Brothers introduce themselves

NICOLA LAGUZZI: “I’m the business brain and he’s the hippy.  I’m the hard worker”. 


FILIPPO LAGUZZI: “No both”. [laughs]


Brothers herd goats



Brothers with arms around each other/Working on farm

HAMISH MACDONALD: Meet Nicola and Filippo Laguzzi.  This is their office.  A few years ago, they decided to throw everything in and become farmers. 


Filippo with MacDonald

FILIPPO LAGUZZI: “And farming in this place in where there are my roots”.


Hop picking and sorting



Working on farm

HAMISH MACDONALD: These young blokes with the help of their mates who, mind you, they don’t pay, but are just as committed to this idea, will try their hand at just about anything.  They’re growing their own organic veggies, making artisanal beer from home-grown hops – the list goes on.


Beer making process

FILIPPO LAGUZZI: “We have to be careful about the temperature is going up”.



HAMISH MACDONALD: Getting a degree in Italy takes a really long time, and even with one, there’s no guarantee of a job with a decent salary.  Just last year 125,000 Italians left the country altogether.  Nearly half of those were young people.  Nico abandoned his law studies because he couldn’t even see a future in it.


NICOLA LAGUZZI: “If you want to become a lawyer,


Nicola and MacDonald

it’s more of less impossible. There are so many lawyers and if you don’t have a father or a mother who’s a lawyer, it’s more or less impossible.  You will do photocopy for a lawyer”.


HAMISH MACDONALD: “That was the reality you faced?”



NICOLA LAGUZZI: “Yes, it’s really depressing a little bit for young people.  It’s for that, that a lot of people move and decide to go away”.


Goat herding




HAMISH MACDONALD: It’s Nico’s job to turn this dream into a reality.


Nicola and MacDonald

NICOLA LAGUZZI: “Me and my brother we are like yin yang, black and white.  We love nature, but he has a more hippy idea of the business”.


Drone shots of farm




HAMISH MACDONALD: “So are you making any money out of this yet?”


FILIPPO LAGUZZI: “No, not yet but slowly, slowly, step by step, working hard every day, yeah we start to have some results”.


Drone shots of farm



GVs Market town

HAMISH MACDONALD: Now there are some signs of recovery in Italy, but the truth is the economy is only growing at around 1%.  Even so, the young entrepreneurs we’ve met feel very strongly that their future is here.  They want to adapt traditional ways of doing things and create products that all Italians can be proud of. 


Carolina shoe making




HAMISH MACDONALD: Carolina Cuomo is at a crossroads with her business.  Should she scale up or stay small?  Despite all the bureaucratic obstacles she’s still optimistic.



CAROLINA CUOMO: [subtitle] “We really do have the opportunity of creating something innovative, an alternative, if you like. To grow our business, we he to be open to inventive ideas”. 





Bra cheese festival




Guido with cheese at festival

HAMISH MACDONALD: As for Guido at the Bra cheese festival?  The feedback is good and it looks like he might have just cracked the American market


MacDonald with Guido and Cheese distributor

if this big distributor has anything to do with it.


AMERICAN CHEESE DISTRIBUTOR: “He’s very on the cutting edge and people want what’s new.  They want to, you know they’ve had a lot of cheeses and they want something different and they want something exciting and then there’s the whole story behind it – the sustainability of the animals, of the style of farm. You know there are so many things that people want to hear about”.



HAMISH MACDONALD: “So this will sell?”




Guido and MacDonald

HAMISH MACDONALD: “Given how much you’re sinking into this, you know personally, how much energy, to get that kind of endorsement though, what does that mean personally?”


GUIDO: “Personally it’s a big satisfaction, you know.







When you have a person give you compliments for like the product of your work, there’s no, like there’s no better thing.  You know I think after four years, having changed so much in my life, it could have all gone wrong basically.  I’m lucky to be at this point, we also say you know, you deserve luck, luck helps you when you deserve it, so it is a big satisfaction and makes me like, it gives me extra energy if you like to put into the whole project”.


HAMISH MACDONALD: “Feeling optimistic”.


GUIDO: “Yeah definitely, definitely”.


Time lapse. Nightfall



Dinner party preparation

HAMISH MACDONALD: Tonight it’s our final Italian meal.  The Laguzzi brothers, Filippo and Nicola, have invited us to come up the hill for dinner.  Nearly everything on the table is a tribute to their hard work and commitment.  It might take a while before they turn a profit, right now they’re barely breaking even, but success for them is measured in more than just the bottom line.


Dinner party table. MacDonald with Laguzzi brothers

“You guys have both talked about this as being a big dream, is it a crazy dream?  Does it feel like a crazy dream?”


FILIPPO LAGUZZI: “Yes it’s our dream and it’s special. Maybe we are a bit crazy but we are…”



NICOLA LAGUZZI: “We are not afraid.  We have all these wonderful people and we work hard”.


FILIPPO LAGUZZI: ‘That support us with love and love I think it’s a crazy thing and yes our dream it’s crazy.  Because a lot of people are crazy with us”.


HAMISH MACDONALD: Well cheers to that!”



Reporter - Hamish Macdonald
Producer - Bronwen Reed
Camera - David Martin
Fixer - Josephine McKenna
Editor - Garth Thomas
Executive Producer -Marianne Leitch

© 2018


Out point after credits








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