s
s
Sections
Sections
Subscribe
You've read 3 of 10 free articles this month.
Get unlimited access to SonomaNews.com, the Sonoma Index-Tribune eEdition and our mobile app for just $5.25 per month!
Already a subscriber?
You've read 6 of 10 free articles this month.
Get unlimited access to SonomaNews.com, the Sonoma Index-Tribune eEdition and our mobile app for just $5.25 per month!
Already a subscriber?
You've read all of your free articles this month.
Continue reading with unlimited access to SonomaNews.com, the Sonoma Index-Tribune eEdition and our mobile app for just $5.25 per month!
Already a subscriber?
We've got a special deal for readers like you.
Get unlimited access to SonomaNews.com, the Sonoma Index-Tribune eEdition and our mobile app for just $5.25 per month, and support community journalism!
Already a subscriber?
Thanks for reading! Why not subscribe?
Get unlimited access to SonomaNews.com, the Sonoma Index-Tribune eEdition and our mobile app for just $5.25 per month, and support community journalism!
Already a subscriber?
Want to keep reading? Subscribe today!
For just $5.25 per month, you can keep reading SonomaNews.com, the Sonoma Index-Tribune eEdition and our mobile, and support community journalism!
Already a subscriber?

Paulino Duran returns to Sonoma from hosting PBS travel show

X

The "Follow This Story" feature will notify you when any articles related to this story are posted.

When you follow a story, the next time a related article is published — it could be days, weeks or months — you'll receive an email informing you of the update.

If you no longer want to follow a story, click the "Unfollow" link on that story. There's also an "Unfollow" link in every email notification we send you.

This tool is available only to subscribers; please make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

X

Please note: This feature is available only to subscribers; make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

'Yellow Roads' of Italy

The PBS series hosted by Paulino Duran airs on Friday nights at 11:30 p.m. and Saturday mornings at 5:30 a.m. on KQED. You can follow Duran while he is filming on Instagram at @paulino.duran.

Paulino Duran is a Sonoma Valley High graduate who is known to many in town as a former star of Beach Blanket Babylon and as a former director of his family’s Broadway Bound Kids theater program. But the longtime actor, producer and director has now added “network television program host” to his resume.

Duran is the host of the newest season of the PBS series, “Yellow Roads: Europe” which began airing this week. He returned to Sonoma from New York City on Tuesday night and explained how it all came about.

The first episode aired this week. Did you watch?

I actually haven’t seen it yet. I saw clips when I was doing the voice-overs in post-production but I’m excited to sit down with my family this week to watch it.

So how did this opportunity come about?

Really by chance. I feel like that’s how a lot of the opportunities in my life and in this business have come about. A friend in Marin recommended me and I had a five minute meeting before catching a plane and that was it. It was really a chance meeting. But then they called me and offered me the job.

What’s the premise of the show?

It is a travel series about back roads. For these shows, focused on Italy, the premise is that all roads lead to Rome. The name comes from the fact that in the old Michelin guidebooks, the yellow roads were off the beaten path.

What kind of crew did you have?

It was usually some combination of myself as the host, a director, a director of photography, a cinematographer and a sound guy… as well as a couple of producers. So probably about eight people, nine people. We met when we got on the plane to go to Italy for the very first time.

When did you start work on the series?

I signed the contract almost a year ago and the first trip was back in June and it lasted for about two weeks. We went back and did the second two episodes for two weeks in October.

Where did you travel?

We stayed in amazingly luxurious hotels and every night we stayed someplace different. And I don’t know how I did it, but I didn’t lose anything, not even a phone charger! You know, you kind of get it down to an art form really quick. You pull out the essentials, like toothbrush, toothpaste, the contacts and glasses, the razor and the outfit for the next day. You’re good to go.

How do you decide what each episode will focus upon?

The show is a little bit of everything. It’s entirely non-scripted. Aside from Rome, we traveled to these beautiful cities, Perugia, Orvieto, the Amalfi coast. We ate 10-course dinners in the ancient caves of Matera.

Sounds like a pretty good gig.

I think the best part was meeting people I would never have met otherwise. Like a sweet little old lady who owned this restaurant with her brother. I mean she reached up as high as she could, grabs my cheeks and literally plants the biggest kiss on my lips, and then says, “Sit, sit down and eat now.” All of a sudden we’re like, you know, best friends. I think the special relationships that you forge with people you would’ve never met otherwise. I love hearing people’s stories.

'Yellow Roads' of Italy

The PBS series hosted by Paulino Duran airs on Friday nights at 11:30 p.m. and Saturday mornings at 5:30 a.m. on KQED. You can follow Duran while he is filming on Instagram at @paulino.duran.

Do you speak Italian?

Not a lick! But I do speak decent Spanish and that helped. We also always had a “fixer” on the crew who translates. Thanks to social media, almost everyone speaks English in the bigger cities, Just the further south you go, into the more rural areas, there nobody really speaks English.

Did onlookers think you were a celebrity?

Yeah, they did. It’s contagious so when a bunch of people start taking photos, a bunch more come over. I was dying laughing because I mean they’re going to google me and this guy doesn’t pop up for nothing.

Pretty good for a hometown boy.

I grew up in this town and Sonoma is my home. It was funny because this is such a similar landscape to a lot of parts in Italy. Only difference being, instead of a Mission, you see a huge castle or a Roman aqueduct.

Did you ever pinch yourself?

Oh my God, like every second. Are you kidding me? The hotels, the meals, the wine…

Sometimes I would think how unreal it was and get to a point where I’m like, you know, I don’t want to jinx anything. Like I’m, I’m pretty superstitious. I think, you know, knock on wood and all that kind of stuff. But you get to this point where it’s like, oh my God, like this is really happening.

There was a gap between the trips and it was great because I could take it in a little bit more. To be more present.

What’s next?

My fiancé, Nicole, and I had been living in New York City for the past four years where I have been keeping busy with directing and acting projects. I love being the behind the camera, like if I can wear a baseball hat and jeans and a T shirt, and don’t have to shave, I’m so happy.

We plan to move back to Sonoma next month to be closer to my family. But I have been invited back for another season of the series. I am just waiting to hear the location. I am also working on a new series that I can’t say much about right now but it will hopefully get going when I get back from filming.

You really are living the dream…

You know, it was amazing travel and I came home with great stories. Some on the camera, but a ton off the camera. Living the dream is an understatement.

Contact Lorna at lorna.sheridan@sonomanews.com.