I will be the first to admit that I'm an inveterate armchair traveler. I've never been able to afford to travel every place that I want to go, so it should be no surprise that I love books in which setting plays an important role. There are several mystery series where their settings could almost be called characters because they are so evocative. I can't help but picture the books' locations in my mind's eye as I read.
|Sicily, right at the "toe" of Italy|
Recently I finished reading The Age of Doubt, one of Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano mysteries set in southern Sicily. Camilleri does such a wonderful job of bringing his setting to life. I can envision Montalbano's home on the beach. I can smell the food he loves to eat. As he travels from one crime scene to the next, I can picture the countryside. Shortly after reading The Age of Doubt, I wondered about traveling to Sicily to follow in Montalbano's footsteps. I'd forgotten all about the television series based on the books that is filmed there, so I was momentarily surprised by the number of hits that came up in my search.
|Montalbano's "TV house"|
Some of the tours Montalbano fans can sign up for are through Sicilian tour companies (Sicily Life Tours, Sicily Travel Net, Sicily Travel Tours, Sicily Day Tours), and some are through travel agencies in the UK (Expressions, Long Travel, The Thinking Traveller). Montalbano isn't a hit show in the United States, so the only American website I found tours mentioned on was Expedia.
Most concentrate on the shooting locations for the television series, and since the production company did such a fantastic job in choosing Montalbano's home, it wouldn't bother me one little bit to see the rest of them. However, one company did specify a Montalbano literary tour for those of us who have only read the books. And did I mention that these tours aren't going to let us skip sampling the food? That would be a must for me; I've just read too many scenes of Montalbano enjoying his meals!
Regardless of what you may think of these tours, the money they can funnel into the local economy can be put to great use. For example, the popularity of both Downton Abbey and Outlander have given Highclere Castle and Doune Castle badly needed funds for essential restorations (like a new roof or two).
Chances are that I will never take one of these tours, but I certainly did enjoy reading about them and looking through all the photos. I hope all you fellow armchair travelers (and Camilleri fans) will, too!