Ah, Italia. Land of tomatoes and hair gel, Caravaggio and cobbles, gelato and alleyways smelling of wee. It’s on my mind at the moment. This can partly be blamed on the children’s book fair junket taking place in Bologna this week (where hopefully my books are going down a storm), and partly on last night’s viewing of BBC4’s Inspector Montalbano on iPlayer. I am now intermittently muttering “Ecco-la!” and “Fazio!” around the house and fighting the urge to get operatic with the washing machine, which has sprung a leak.
“Ecco-la!” means “Look at that female object!” I’m not employing it to draw attention to anything female or otherwise; it just bursts out of me like water from an ill-fitting garden hose when I’m making tea or checking my emails and fills me with vigour and purpose. The experience is highly recommended.
Fazio – or more accurately, Fazio! – is Inspector Montalbano’s sergeant, constantly summoned down the airy corridors of the Vigata police station with magnificent emphasis thus. The quality Montalbano imparts to the “Fa” part of “Fazio!” is as bright as gold and summarises everything that’s beautiful about the language.
Another reason for watching Inspector Montalbano is balcony envy. A moment of reverential silencio, please.
Buona fortuna to all in Bologna this week. And if you make me rich and famous enough to get a balcony like this one day, so much the better.