In the footsteps of Inspector Montalbano

“a story set in London or New York remains the highest and unfortunately never fulfilled ambition of the author .. he knows where Bond Street or Fifth Avenue are, but he practically ignores everything of the men who walk and live there. On the contrary, he believes to know everything of his hometown and his fellow contrymen; he has the ambition to possibly guess their thoughts .. Now, having imagined a story, he could not help to anchor it entirely to the homes and the streets he knows better…”

Andrea Camilleri – Il corso delle cose

Literary trails in the Agrigento region: Andrea Camilleri

Andrea Camilleri’s stories are set between Vigata and Montelusa, imaginary places that are not on the map but that geographically are located in the area between the hill of Girgenti and the Sea of Africa. The writer himself defined them as semi- imaginary places that are real “as a basic frame of places” to keep somehow under control his characters but their boundaries are variable to meet the needs of the story. Places that really exist – Porto Empedocles – Vigata with its streets, disused factories, the Mannara, the lighthouse, the flat rock, Salita Granet, the beach of Marinella, the eastern pier, the police station in Lincoln Street, Mount Crasto, San Calogero restaurant and Trattoria da Enzo, the hills of white marl and Girgenti – Montelusa with the commissioner’s office, the Rabato district.

At the same time places that, by dint of extension, absorb facts and events from other Sicilian towns and end up by taking on the shape of Sicily in its entirety. In this sense Vigata can be defined as the “most unreal place of the most conventional Sicily”. In this literary but easily recognizable setting, Camilleri’s characters (Zosimo-the king of Girgenti, Inspector Montalbano, Mimì Augello, Fazio, Catarella) move at ease and the most imaginary and odd stories become real and credible.

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