Lorraine Bracco’s laughter is a versatile instrument. There are the low, rolling chuckles that roll out when she’s lightly amused and the high, staccato cackle that spills out when she’s really laughing. And while we discuss her latest project, My Big Italian Adventure—an HGTV show in which she buys and renovates a crumbling house in Sicily—the beloved actress is generous with both.
Last year Sambuca di Sicilia, a village roughly an hour’s drive south of Palermo, started selling off historic properties for one euro in an attempt to reinvigorate the area. Among the rules for the new owners: the projects must be completed within 3 years. Bracco, an admitted HGTV nut, got a CNN push alert about the effort and sent the network a pitch. Initially she’d thought about producing the show—but when the network said they wanted to see her fly across the Atlantic, Bracco couldn’t resist.