Inspector Montalbano is a very famous character in a television fiction starring italian actor Luca Zingaretti.
Born from the pen of Andrea Camilleri, Salvo Montalbano is a witty Inspector of the State Police who, with his intuition (even before with the data of the scientific), manages every time to discover, sometimes even with refined stratagems, the culprit of the murder of turn.
The adventures of Montalbano take place in Sicily, in the imaginary town of Vigàta, in the province of Montelusa. But if the locality of Vigàta is imaginary, the places where the fiction shots are made are absolutely true and all beautiful.
That’s why on the occasion of my last trip in Sicily I did not miss the opportunity to visit these wonderful places and, once found on the spot, I myself felt for a moment the Inspector Montalbano (oh well, let’s say agent Catarella ….).
Of course, it is difficult to retrace all the places of Montalbano, but here I can at least dwell on his main places, imagining a typical day of our Inspector.
The typical day of Montalbano
Montalbano at home
In the morning, as everyone knows, Montalbano wakes up in his house directly on the beach for a refreshing swim in the sea. We are at Marinella, the place of residence of Montalbano (photo 1). In reality, the house of Montalbano is now a very popular B&B (called “La Casa di Montalbano”), with long waiting times for those wishing to book a stay in its walls. The beach is that of Punta Secca, a hamlet of Santa Croce in Camerina, a few kilometers from Ragusa. Being in front of the house of Montalbano gives the strange feeling of being in an episode of fiction because it is really exactly as seen on TV.
Punta Secca (click here for the map), however, is not just Montalbano. Right next to the house, directly on the beach, I can suggest a very good restaurant, “A Musciara” (photo 2), which although is not the one where usually the Inspector Montalbano eats, offers some delicious fish dishes (for my full review on Tripadvisor , click here).
After dinner, you can not give up an excellent slush of mulberry or lemon, perhaps in the bar that is located just inside the beautiful Scalambri Tower (photo 3), in front of the house of the Ispector. It is a late seventeenth-century tower placed in defense of the Punta Secca landing, which appears many times in the episodes of fiction. The most faithful fans of fiction will recognize in the photo, next to the Scalambri Tower, the parking space where Inspector Montalbano usually parks his historic car, a “Fiat Tipo”.
Montalbano at work
Once our Inspector has showered, he usually either looks out on the balcony to have breakfast and admire the beautiful beach or receives the usual incomprehensible phone call from the faithful agent Catarella who invites him to go to the police station to question a possible witness. And here Montalbano, with his inseparable car, goes to the workplace, the police station in the nearby town of Vigàta (photo 4). We are actually in Scicli, a wonderful baroque town a few kilometers from Marinella (sorry, from Punta Secca). The police station is actually the city hall of Scicli, located in a beautiful square full of shops, bars, cafes. People told me that during the filming of the fiction, the municipal employees are often forced to interrupt their work, even for several hours, to allow the shooting of the scenes. Surely the Inspector in these parts (and not only here) is a true celebrity.
If you intend to stop at Scicli for dinner, I suggest the excellent pizzeria “Pura Follia“, just a step away from the police station of Vigàta, with a beautiful and scenic terrace where you can enjoy an excellent pizza. For my full review on Tripadvisor, click here.
Montalbano on a coffee-break
We have never seen Montalbano take a break at the bar to have a coffee. But surely also to the irreprehensible Inspector, between an investigation and the other, it will happen to take a moment of relaxation. What better place than the central square of Vigàta? Many scenes of the city of Vigàta are actually shot in the beautiful central square of Ragusa Ibla, in front of the Cathedral of St. George (photo 5), very often present in the shots of fiction. I have already spoken about Ragusa Ibla in another post dedicated to the Sicilian baroque; it is a beautiful and scenic square where the citizens “vigatian” surely love to meet and walk.
Other locations widely used in fiction are the steps of the Cathedral of St. George at Modica (on which, also, is a post), the Scala dei Turchi (literaly, the stair of the Turks), the Valley of the Temples of Agrigento, Marina di Ragusa. ….
The places of Montalbano have now become a cult place for tourists, an aspect that demonstrates the love of the public for Camilleri, for the Inspector Montalbano and for the actors who interpret it, not only Luca Zingaretti but also Michele Riondino, protagonist of the equally well-known fiction where the actor plays “The young Montalbano”. When you are in these places it is difficult to resist the temptation for a selfie in front of the B&B of Montalbano, to taste the “arancini of Montalbano”.
At this point a little clarification about Vigàta is useful. Obviously it is a fantasy town that has been given an equally imaginative name that recalls the name of the nearby town of Licata. In fact, several times, the writer Camilleri has specified that Vigàta is actually the town of Porto Empedocle, his hometown. Visiting Porto Empedocle it turns out that in all the road signs, especially the tourist ones, in the name of the city official is added that of Vigàta. In this way, the fantasy city becomes a piece of reality.
P.S. this article contains images taken from the fiction “The Inspector Montalbano” and “The young Montalbano” that are not owned by me. If copyright has been violated, represent it at the e-mail address in the “Contact” section; the images will be immediately removed.