Darren Franich
August 04, 2011 AT 11:15 PM EDT

The fourth season of Jersey Shore is based around a premise so deliciously off-kilter that even the vocal mass of people who consider the show a harbinger of the end of Western Civilization will probably tune in, if only so they have something new to complain about. The tanned-up gym freaks are leaving behind the humble decadence of Seaside Heights, N.J., to return to the ancestral home of the modern age of wonders: Florence, the Italian metropolis that was once home to Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and many of the other great thinkers and artists of the Renaissance. It’s a perfect mixture of the sacred and the profane, the rough equivalent of asking the Pope to consecrate a row of tequila shots. The famously problem-plagued shoot included delays, Visa problems, fights, neck braces, and presumably a few Bunga Bunga parties.

So just how different was it filming in Florence? We’ll find out tonight — hit up the comment boards with your thoughts on the episode, and don’t forget to check back in the wee hours of the morning for my full recap. (UPDATE: The recap is live, live, live!) In the meantime, here’s what Ronnie and Sammi had to say when I spoke to them earlier today about their time in the Athens of the Middle Ages. (By the way: when asked about their current relationship status, Ronnie checked his watch and said, “Right now we’re together. I can’t tell you in an hour what’s going to happen.” They both laughed.)

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How different was it filming in Italy versus filming in Seaside?

RONNIE: It’s cleaner. The people are nicer.

SAMMI: The food is amazing.

R: There’s history behind it! Every building, every church has history behind it! As opposed to here, like, “Oh, I stayed at that hotel! History behind it is: I got drunk there after my prom.”

S: The city of Florence was full of culture. That’s what was important.

EW: Did you go to any museums?

R: We did have a museum tour the last day.

S: We saw the Duomo, the David. Do you know about the Medici family?

R: We saw their old house.

EW: They, like, basically owned Florence, right?

R: [nodding his head] They had a lot of money.

S: And the Duomo is a huge church. There’s not a building as tall as the Duomo.

R: No building is allowed to build higher than it stands.

EW: What did you think of the David?

S: It was cool! There were so many other statues, too.

R: It’s crazy how old they are.

S: And it’s crazy how they made them. So intriguing, with all the detail! It was awesome.

Unfortunately, I did not have time to ask Pauly D for his views on the writings of Niccolo Machiavelli. But I would imagine that he agrees wholeheartedly.

Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich

Read more:

Behind-the-scenes: The ‘Jersey Shore’ kids take Italy

Could ‘Jersey Shore’ be good for America? A new poll shows it MIGHT be good for New Jersey.

Would you watch ‘Jersey Shore’ without the original cast?

You May Like