Friday, 5 February 2016

What is the second most famous balcony in Italy?

Friday 5th February,, 2016

Up until the last few years the answer to this would have been simple - the balcony overlooking St Peter's Square, where the Pope blesses the faithful. The most famous balcony of course is Juliet's in Verona, which has an advantage over the Vatican on two counts, firstly, it is entirely fictional and secondly, it calls to the carnal, rather than the spiritual, thus guaranteeing more popular appeal. 

These days, however, it has a rival. Four kilometres east of Punta Braccetto where we are staying, is a slightly larger, but equally unassuming fishing village called Punta Secco, or at least it was unassuming until the makers of 'Inspector Montalbano' the highly popular Italian T.V detective series chose the village as the location of the eponymous inspector's house. The house, its large balcony and the small bay to the front of it where the detective frequently demonstrates his prowess at wild swimming, all have become archetypal images for the show's many fans. Above all it is the lovely balcony overlooking the sea which is most memorable, not least as the scene of many a heartfelt phone-call between Salvo and his long-time lover, Livia, whose star-crossed, but flawed affair is a recurrent theme in most episodes. 

'Casa Montalbano'

The famous balcony
The photogenic lighthouse
Even on a sunny, but chilly day in early February, though Punta Secca itself was largely closed for the season, we were not the only people making a pilgrimage to 'Casa Montelbano'. Indeed there was a steady trickle of fans arriving to take a few photos of the house, beach and distinctive nearby lighthouse which appear in the show. So, although the balcony cannot as yet rival that of Ms. Capulet in Verona, it must trump the papal balcony on the basis that crowds only gather beneath it when His Holiness actually makes an appearance, whereas people gather at Montalbano's balcony, like Juliet's, despite neither owner being capable of making a personal appearance due to to the slightly awkward fact that they are both are entirely fictional.

A few more photos of the rather lovely Punta Secca....


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