Sept 7

7 September, Italy – ‘All Over The Place – Europe, Part 2’

It’s easy to forget what an unusual job I have on ‘All Over The Place’. Dressing up in silly costumes and parading around in front of the general public has become such a common place thing for me that I’m always impressed other presenters slip into the groove so quickly. As Susan and I left our hotel in Florence at the crack of dawn this morning dressed in full Medieval costume to sing a song about the old rulers of the city – the Medici – I knew what we had in store for us. Namely, lots of gawping tourists taking photos and videos of us while we got in the way of the various sights they’ve come to see.

It was water off a duck’s back to Susan though (stand up comedy does give you something of a thick skin). The streets of Florence may be dripping in 100s of years of art and culture but as usual the tourists turned their backs on all that and snapped away at two idiots prancing around an iPod speaker. We got to work in front of cathedrals, palaces and magnificent viewpoints from the hills overlooking the city, and if we’d put a hat down to collect some coins I think we could have made a few bob.

Once we’d grabbed lunch back at the hotel it was time to travel a couple of hours out of town to Pinocchio Park. It’s a – yes, you guessed it – Pinocchio themed park built in the town of Collodi in honour of Pinocchio’s author… Carlo Collodi. If you’re expecting a Disney style experience you may be surprised. It’s really quite a surreal place, with concrete and metal sculptures dotted about the undergrowth depicting scenes from the rather more violent and scary original Italian stories. Our cameraman did a fine job shooting around various un-CBBC guns and knives wielded by Pinocchio’s assailants, and there are such cheery scenes as a funeral, with a coffin carried by a load of rabbits. Luckily I added a bit of colour to it all wandering around dressed as the famous puppet (Susan somehow got away with no fancy dress this afternoon).

Rounded off the afternoon’s filming in a beautiful garden in the grounds of the town’s famous mansion house. Jaw droppingly beautiful, pay it a visit if you find yourself passing. And pop into Pinocchio park too if you want to give the kids an unconventional day out!

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