Signora Volpe — What We’re Watching

Signora Volpe is a new series on Acorn TV that we watched last month. They took the premise for Under the Tuscan Sun and made it a wrapper for a crime drama featuring a disillusioned British spy. As strange as that sounds, they blend an appealing setting, engaging characters, and some interesting storylines into an entertaining show.

Signora Volpe is filmed in Panicale, an ancient medieval town in the province of Perugia in Umbria. It is a hillside town on the eastern slope of Mount Petrarvella. It overlooks Lake Trasimeno. In the middle of the historical center, of the town, there is a travertine fountain from the fifteenth century. The town and vista shots of the surrounding area are a highlight of the show. “Quiet Reflections on the Enchanting Italian Village of Panicale” by Barry L. Swartz from the World Through a Lens series in the NY Times is worth a read to get the flavor of the place.

Panicale  Italy
LigaDue, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The cast of Signora Volpe is solid. Emilia Fox, who is the lead on the BBC series Silent Witness, plays British spy Sylvia Fox who visits italy to attend her niece’s wedding. Her sister is played by Tara Fitzgerald, who you may have seen as Selyse Baratheon in The Game of Thrones. Giovanni Cirfiera plays Carabinieri Captain Giovanni Riva, the head of the local police. He is best known for portraying Santo Versace in the miniseries The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. The supporting cast is strong as well.

Signora Volpe Cast - Emilia Fox and Tara Fitzgerald

Photo Credit: Moris Puccio / AcornTV

Signora Volpe Cast - Emilia Fox and Giovanni Cirfiera

Photo Credit: Moris Puccio / AcornTV

Here is Acorn TV’s synopsis for Signora Volpe and the official trailer

To the casual observer, there’s nothing remarkable about Sylvia Fox. An attractive, intelligent woman in her forties, she answers questions about her work with vague references to an unspectacular career in the Civil Service. Which is only very slightly true – because until recently, Sylvia was a high-ranking British spy.

When Sylvia arrives in Italy for the wedding of her niece Alice, she’s disillusioned with her job at MI6 headquarters in London, and in need of a break. But then the bridegroom disappears, leaving a dead body in the lake at the bottom of his garden, and Sylvia takes it upon herself to solve the mystery and save Alice from disaster.

Despite the unpromising start to her holiday, Sylvia is enchanted by Umbria, the green heart of Italy, and is surprised and pleased to find herself reconnecting with her estranged sister Isabel, who lives in the handsome hillside town of Panicale. When she stumbles upon a beautiful, derelict old house, Sylvia decides to buy it, quit her job and start afresh.

But Sylvia was never cut out for a quiet life and finds herself involved in a fresh mystery each week – from the disappearance of a young woman a quarter of a century ago, to the theft of a truffle pig, and a blackmail plot against the son of a Russian politician. At first, Carabinieri Captain Giovanni Riva resents Sylvia’s interference, but he soon begins to seek her help. Perhaps Riva’s interest in Sylvia is not purely professional…

All in all, a enjoyable enough show for summertime watching even if the underlying premise is a bit farfetched. Of course, maybe not so much if you consider all the little villages in the UK who have weekly murders. Hope you enjoy Signora Volpe!

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