Kathy McCabe: Italian Travel Expert and PBS Travel Host

[Kathy was profiled in The New York Times June 7, 2015]

[Press announcement for Season 3 of Dream of Italy Premiering Winter 2023/24]

Kathy McCabe makes Italian travel dreams (and soon European ones too) come true. She’s America’s #1 Italy travel influencer with an audience of more than 60 million on PBS alone. Her PBS TV series Dream of Italy is in its 3rd season which premiered on PBS stations winter 2023/2024.  Kathy believes that Italy can change your life – whether you live like an Italian at home, travel there or move there – which was the premise of one of her TV specials, Dream of Italy: Travel, Transform and Thrive, featuring Sting & Trudie Styler.

Kathy is the host and executive producer of the TV travel series Dream of Italy with threes seasons and two specials currently airing on PBS stations, CreateTV, PBS.org, PBS streaming, YouTube and Amazon Prime. Season 3 of Dream of Italy is now premiering with special guests including celebrated tenor Andrea Bocelli (a travel and music episode called Andrea Bocelli’s Tuscany), Academy Award-winning actress Marisa Tomei (visiting her ancestral Campania in search of the Black Madonna) and 3-Michelin star chef Massimo Bottura (who loved us so much he filmed not one but two episodes in Modena and Italy’s food valley).

In 2021, Dream of Italy was the #1 most watched program (of any genre) distributed by American Public Television to Amazon Prime with 5 million unique downloads. The television series, which airs in more than 97% of U.S. TV households, is inspired by the award-winning travel magazine and membership website, Dream of Italy, that she founded in 2002.

Filming is currently underway for Kathy’s second PBS series – Dream of Europe – which will feature six captivating European destinations including Annecy, France. The series, with lead sponsor Regent Seven Seas Cruises, will premiere in January 2025.

Kathy is also the host of the Dream of Italy Podcast, which The New York Times recommends as one of “13 podcasts for wandering souls.” Kathy is widely quoted in the international media on topics related to travel and Italian culture.

Her 2021 PBS pledge special Dream of Italy: Travel, Transform and Thrive  (which is still airing) explores the 11 essential elements of the Italian lifestyle – the land, food, family, art & culture, beauty, pace of life, passion, movement, community, celebrations and sense of home– through the stories of full- and part-time expats Sting & Trudie Styler, Francis Ford Coppola, Under the Tuscan Sun author Frances Mayes, best-selling financial author David Bach, retiree Sally Carrocino and interior designer Arlene Antoinette Gibbs. Italian-American actor Joe Mantegna joins Kathy for the special’s pledge breaks inviting the audience to support their local public television stations. Kathy is also the author of the 276-companion book to the special about transforming the Italian way.

me-nytimes-travel-show-small The most popular episode of the TV series  in terms of viewer feedback is the Castelvetere sul Calore episode from season 2 where McCabe brings her (now late) parents back to her mother’s ancestral hometown to explore the mysteries of her heritage and the miracles of the town’s Madonna. It was Kathy’s first trip to Italy to find this mythical town that fulfilled her grandfather’s “dream of Italy” and later inspired this brand.  Viewers describe McCabe as “warm,” “genuine,” “authentic” and “filled with joy.”  Many watch the episodes again and again and say the series “helps us dream” and  “inspired us to plan a trip to Italy as soon as we can.”

McCabe has published more than 200 editions of the award-winning subscription magazine Dream of Italy, helping 10s of thousands of people enjoy more authentic and rewarding travels in Italy with insider advice on where to go, what to see, where to stay, where to eat and who to meet. Dream of Italy has been recommended for its savvy travel advice by National Geographic Traveler, USA TODAY, The Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, Forbes, BusinessWeek and numerous other media outlets.

McCabe has spoken about travel to Italy and the transformative power of the Italian lifestyle for the Smithsonian Museum, The New York Times Travel Show, the Travel & Adventure Show, the Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco (with Riccardo Illy), the National Organization of Italian American Women, the National Italian American Foundation and Georgetown University.

As a travel writer, McCabe has contributed travel articles to numerous other publications including Cruise Critic, Saveur, USA TODAY, Global Traveler, The Huffington Post, Budget Travel, Fodor’s Travel Publications, The Travel Channel Online, AOL Travel, The Baltimore Sun and The Boston Herald.

McCabe began her career in journalism at ABC News where she was part of an Emmy-Award winning investigative team linking money and politics during the 1996 presidential election. She holds a M.A. in non-fiction writing from Johns Hopkins University and a B.S.F.S. in European Studies from Georgetown University.  McCabe is  a graduate of the Stanford University Publishing Program for Mid-Career Professionals. McCabe’s other great passion in life, besides Italy, is dogs, particularly her beloved breed, wire fox terriers.

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