Wednesday 29 January 2020

BBC show's detective falls foul of Sicilian planning laws

Luca Zingaretti as Inspector Montalbano in the crime series
Luca Zingaretti as Inspector Montalbano in the crime series

Alan Martin

He is the shaven-headed scourge of the Sicilian mafia and simple criminals. But now unconventional TV detective Inspector Montalbano could find himself on the wrong side of the law over a planning row.

The next time he sits on the terrace of his home - entertaining his latest love interest or contemplating a dish of pesto alla trapanese - Salvo might do better to focus on sorting out the planning permission for his idyllic home.

Sicilian media has reported demands for the terrace - in reality, an unauthorised part of a bed and breakfast in the Sicilian town of Punta Secca - to be demolished.

It's a story that has caused consternation among the sun-bleached hill towns of this normally quiet coastal region.

Since 1999, when the show first began filming there, local businesses have been inundated by fans of the gently paced crime series on BBC Four - a welcome financial boost in a place where the economy has been in the doldrums for years and employment is scarce.

The threat to the Montalbano-inspired tourist trail has reignited local fears about the future of the show. Last year, producers threatened to relocate to the Puglia region on the Italian mainland, due to their unhappiness about the lack of tax breaks and financial support they had received from the Sicilian authorities.

Mayor of Punta Secca, Franca Iurato, has complained that someone has been trying to sully the reputation of her town.

She said that there had been numerous amnesties for unauthorised developments in the area and that she wanted the landmark terrace to be given similar retrospective sanction.

Irish Independent

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