Tag Archives: Andrea Camilleri

Andrea Camilleri

17 Jul

Accolades and condolences are abundant in Italy as the famed Commissario Montalbano author, Andrea Calogero Camilleri, director and author, passed away today at age 93.

Wikipedia, Andrea Camilleri c 2010

You may recall that last year in Sicily, Len and I spent a 10-hour day touring many famous Montalbano filming sites throughout Sicily. We have read many of the books and seen all of the movies, in Italian with English subtitles. Until today, I had always wondered why it was fairly easy for me to understand them, given what I’ve always heard about the Sicilian dialect. But now I know. According to John Hooper’s Obituary in The Guardian, “they are written in a language of the author’s creation: a blend of standard Italian with Sicilian dialect.” https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/jul/17/andrea-camilleri-obituary-inspector-montalbano?CMP=share_btn_link

And although he had been a successful theatre director, TV producer, playwright and novelist, Camilleri didn’t start publishing his detective series until nearly 70 years of age. Amazingly, he sold more than 10 million books which were translated into 30+ languages, with the adapted tv series running in over 20 countries. 

According to Mark Lawson of The Guardian: “[Camilleri] considered it his duty to speak out against the dark politics by which his country was often seduced, regularly appearing as a pundit on Italian TV shows where he was torrentially opinionated, intelligent and witty.”

Also, according to Lawson, (a spoiler alert): “There will be at least one more novel. In our interview, he told me that – as Agatha Christie did with Hercule Poirot in Curtain – he had deposited with his publisher Riccardino, a final novel in which Montalbano is “finished off” that was to only be published posthumously. It should be a fitting epitaph to one of the latest, but greatest, careers in crime writing.”
https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2019/jul/17/andrea-camilleri-late-but-great-career-in-writing-inspector-montalbano

Finally, some thoughts from Luca Zingaretti, the actor who brought Commissario Montalbano to the screen, on his working with Andrea Camilleri:

I learned that the value of people has nothing to do with what they earn, with the positions they hold, with titles that adorn their surname: they are evaluated for what they are.”

“Now you leave and leave me with an unbridgeable sense of emptiness, but I know that every time I say, even alone, in my head, “Montalbano I am!”, wherever you have gone you smile slyly, perhaps smoking your cigarette and winking at me as a sign of understanding, like the last time we met in Syracuse. Goodbye master and friend, let the earth be light to you!
Your Luca

And so Camilleri leaves us, but not without a legacy that will last long beyond his years.

©blogginginitaly.com

If interested, my blog about our Montalbano tour:
https://blogginginitaly.com/2018/12/18/our-montalbano-tour/

Ciao,
Judy

 

Our Montalbano Tour

18 Dec

Although many people visit Taormina to get close to Mount Etna, Len and I had a different plan. Our goal was to visit many of the shooting locations of one of our favorite Italian detective stories, Il Commissario Montalbano. The episodes are based on novels by author Andrea Camilleri. They are set in the imaginary town of Vigàta but many shooting locations are in the province of Ragusa. Montalbano is played by the Italian actor Luca Zingaretti.

We got hooked on watching Italian shows many years ago as part of our never-ending quest to speak and understand Italian better, and also to learn about parts of Italy we had yet to visit.

Taormina is certainly not the best base to begin this excursion as the sites are hours away, but that didn’t deter us. I found an excellent driver, Alessio Patanè, (info@sicilygrandtour.com), who met us at 8 AM in Taormina.

Our first stop, and the opening shots of the episodes, are overlooking Modica. We were stumped on the significance of this view – the open center being the shooting location for Livia’s bus stop.

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We did, however, recognize the Cathedral of San Giorgio, aka the Church of Vigàta.

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Next stop, (not Montalbano related), the oldest chocolate factory in Sicily. Need you ask if I bought some?

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From there on to Scicli, aka Vigàta.

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The show’s police headquarters and commissioner’s office are both housed in the local town hall.

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Filming for the episodes happens on location during many months of the year, but the office set ups are often broken down and moved to Cinecittà, a large film studio in Rome. We were fortunate as they had recently been shooting scenes, so the offices were completely in tact when we visited.

Stepping inside, one immediately recognizes the staircase Montalbano climbs to visit his boss, the commissioner,

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as well as the commissioner’s office.

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After hearing about the some of the artifacts in the office, we headed downstairs to Montalbano’s office.

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Immediately on the right is Catarella’s office.

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then Fazio’s office leading to Montalbano’s.

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Enrico, our wonderful tour guide, was so knowledgeable and entertaining.

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He was also eager to show us a filming stunt. Below is the familiar door to Mimi’s office, which is actually not an office at all but a wall. Mimi’s only office exists in the studios in Rome.

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One highlight not visible in the series is the incredible ceilings in the eighteenth century building.

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After thanking Enrico, we walked the familiar streets of Vigàta before heading to lunch.

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Then time for Len’s one request – to eat along the sea at the place Montalbano frequents, and so we did. Picture perfect.

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After lunch, we walked along the beach in Punta Secca (aka Marinella)

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until we came upon this sign…

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and then the very familiar home of Montalbano.

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It was easy to see why this house was selected as Montalbano’s home and equally funny to see a pizzeria a few doors away – oh what fame can due to a town!

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In reality, it doesn’t appear that fame has spoiled this quiet beach town at all. No one was even home when I knocked.

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From here, on to our final stop, the incredible vistas of Ragusa and Ragusa Ibla, which we learned about from episodes. As Camilleri once said:

….there is a literary Vigàta, which is based on my hometown, and then a Vigàta used as the set for the TV series, which is based on beautiful places such as Scicli, Modica and so on. Now that happens to me when I’m writing a new Montalbano story: I’m influenced not so much by the Montalbano TV character but the scenery seen on television..   Andrea Camilleri

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Whether or not you are a fan of the Montalbano books/tv series, these sights in many remote parts of Sicily are enticing and beautiful. At first we had wondered why so many widely dispersed and remote filming locations were used, but seeing them made it all so clear. Camilleri truly wanted to share lesser known parts of Sicily with his audience, and indeed he did. Clearly, his intention is what brought us to areas we might never have known, and given us another great adventure on a road less travelled.

©blogginginitaly.com

Ciao,
Judy

 

 

 

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