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Arrivederci, Montalbano. The end of an era for Sicily?

Last Updated on February 18, 2021 by Admin

Monday, 8th of March is the last day of the popular detective show. Not everyone is happy about it. Especially Sicilians.

Writer Luca Zingaretti created the commissioner Salvo Montalbano. He’s a character that with its feet and roots deep in Sicilian ground. The company production has recently announced that March 8th is the last episode. That’s it. The last chapter is Il metodo Catalanotti.

Sicily’s reaction

The show’s location is Noto, a gorgeous baroque town in province of Ragusa. Needless to say, it was a magnet for tourists. Fans have been heading to the places of Montalbano, bringing wealth to the community. When the production company announced the final show, the locals weren’t happy.

In fact, the Sicilian tourism agencies calculate that, since the show’s aired, visitors have increased by 15%. Between 2010 and 2015, the arrivals of foreigners increased by 60%.

“It is unthinkable and extremely irreverent to the memory of Andrea Camilleri. Thinking that you won’t do one more, ultimate episode,” said the mayor of Noto, Corrado Bonfanti.

Giuseppe Rosano agrees. He’s the president of the association “Noi albergatori Siracusa,” gathering the province’s hoteliers.

“In this corner of Sicily, tourism owes a lot to this series,” Rosano said, “and we wish that our province will once again host the filming of Montalbano.

Montalbano
The fictional house of fictional Salvo Montalbano

And they believed they would host the last chapter of the saga. In fact, author Camilleri wrote Riccardino. He wrote it in 2015 as the last book of the Montalbano adventures. The famous commissioner is tired and grumpy. The investigation is complicated and Montalbano seems confused. So much so that Camilleri himself takes charge. He chats with the fictional character, suggestions solutions. The conclusion is the curtain drop. Literally.

Sicilians were counting on Riccardino. One last chapter for more years of tourism. But life got in the way.

The reasons behind the shutdown

Why cancel such a popular TV show? Too many protagonists died to move forward. First, author Andrea Camilleri on July, 2019. Then the director, Alberto Sironi and, finally, the set designer Luciano Ricceri.

Nicola Zingaretti is the actor who has been playing Montalbano for decades. Although nostalgic, he understand the reasons behind the shutdown.

“The problema is that there was an author who wrote scripts every year, said Zingaretti to La Stampa, “and now he’s not here anymore. And a director who is not here anymore.”

Indeed, this is the finale.

The Montalbano phenomenon

On the small screen

The first season aired in 1999 and it was an instant success. It reached 6 million viewers, the 24% of the total TV audience. The production sold the show to over 60 countries worldwide and, in 2016, it was one of the most watched in the UK. The estimates are huge: over one billion of viewers worldwide.Even the reruns are popular, reaching over 4 million people.

The most watched episode? The 2013 Una lama di luce. It reached almost 11 million viewers, a stunning 40% of the total public.

Portrait of Andrea Camilleri, Foto AFP Credit: Ulf Andersen / Aurimages.

The books

Camilleri introduced Montalbano to the literary world in 1994. The book’s title was La forma dell’acqua, the shape of water. After, he appeared in 40 books, both as novels and as short stories. In Italy, the commissioner sold over 20 million copies. Worldwide, it reached 28 countries, translated in 31 languages.

In the words of Camilleri

The author didn’t plan to write so many Montalbano adventures. He wanted to try crime writing and so he typed away. But the instant success of the first book led to more. And more. And more. During an interview with La Repubblica, the author defined his character “an irresistible blackmailer.”

The author was afraid of his book becoming too obvious, like an assembly line. So he stopped writing about Montalbano. But the success and the editors pulled him like a magnet. Irresistible indeed. Like the pull of family.

“The bravery of Montalbano is the bravery of my father,” said Camilleri, “he was brave even in front of death.”

And the fictional character isn’t afraid, not when his team and his Sicily support him.

The province of Ragusa in pictures

The Montalbano tour will take you to some of the most stunning places in Sicily.

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