◊ In Search of Salvo in Sicily! (Montalbano, Of Course!) ◊

Let's Go to Italy Together!Join me as I go hot on the trail of the elusive Inspector Montalbano…

It’s no mystery that I am and have been an avid fan of Andrea Camilleri’s engaging Sicilian inspector, Commissario Montalbano, since 2007. Then, while visiting Siracusa (Sicily) with a small group, my friend and tour guide pointed out his books as we passed a bookstore window. She asked if I had read the bestsellers and, unfamiliar, I took note and so began my journey with Salvo et al.

Photo: Victoria De Maio

Hooked from the first page…

I was immediately hooked, proceeded to devour every one of the bestselling Montalbano detective novels and haven’t missed one since…

Photo credit: Elman

Camilleri inspects the Inspector…

Camilleri, who didn’t start writing the series until he was almost 70, is amazingly prolific, publishing a new novel annually. The first was debuted in 1994 and the first TV show in 1999. However Stephen Sartarelli’s faithful translations didn’t appear until 2002 after six novels had already been published.

Photo: Victoria De Maio

If you haven’t, I suggest that you read Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano novels.

Now, along with millions of other fans, I can’t wait to see what Camilleri has in mind next for Salvo, Livia, and his loyal sidekicks – Catarella, Augello, Fazio, Galluzzo – and the rest of the engaging characters. And, of course, the MHz Choice Italian TV series, starring oh-so-easy-on-the-eyes Luca Zingaretti, has been a mega-hit since 1999. However, the series wasn’t available here until recently…

Waiting impatiently for the DVD’s, finally, they all became available at my local library last year! What a bonanza! As with the books, I couldn’t wait to see every episode. I binged as greedily and happily as Montalbano when he inhales Adelina’s arancini along with his many other local favorites.

That the fictional characters, towns, and settings are brought so faithfully to the screen is wonderful but capturing the essence and tone of the books, which (to me) are uniquely Sicilian in every aspect, is pure genius. From the casting to the sets and locations, from the scripts and direction to the cinematography, everything absolutely embraces and expresses the heart and soul of Camilleri’s characters.

Photo: Victoria De Maio

Hooked on Montalbano & Friends!

Maybe it’s because my Sicilian roots and DNA relate and maybe it’s because I love Sicily but the plots have become secondary to me. I love the characters, their friendships and relationships. I love the dialogue and the nuances, and I love Inspector Montalbano for his passion, for his contradictions and inner conflicts, for his strengths and weaknesses, and for his unconventional and engaging style…and I love that he always tries to do the right thing…despite the odds.

Photo Victoria De Maio

So, last October, when my good friend and fellow blogger, Margie Miklas, (who is also from Sicilian ancestry) and I were planning a Sicily road trip (#2SicilianGals), searching for Salvo was very high on my list!

A little detective work was required…

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⇒ First Clue: To find him you have to know that the fictional Vigàta is actually Porto Empedocles (near Agrigento). It happens to be the real birth place of Camilleri (as well as acclaimed Italian novelist and poet, Luigi Pirandello).

Montalbano - Vigata2

Porto Empedocles (aka Vigàta) has totally embraced Montalbano. In fact, in 2003, they officially changed the city’s name to Porto Empedocles Vigàta!

I had read that they had erected a life-size statue of Montalbano in town center. And he isn’t hard to find…leaning against a lamppost, pensively smoking a cigarette, the statue is true to Camilleri’s description(rather than the actor in the series) but I don’t care! A fan and total groupie, I sneak a hug…

Despite being the fictional Vigàta, no filming takes places here so our search continues…

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Photo Victoria De Maio

Scicli, a perfect filming location.

⇒ Next Clue: Maybe he’s at the police station or visiting the questore? Well, the fictional Vigàta scenes (only the exterior shots, all interior shots are filmed in Rome) are actually filmed in the lovely Baroque town of Scicli.

Photo: Victoria De Maio

Will I find Salvo or maybe Catarella inside?

And the “police station” isn’t hard to find! As I approach and start to climb the steps I realize…  Wait, his car isn’t parked out front?! He must be on a case?

Looking across to the bar where he often goes with Mimi and Fazio, no sign there either… What to do? We do what Montalbano would probably do, we have a cannolo and caffè!Photo Victoria De Maio

Let's Go to Italy Together!⇒ Next Clue: Perhaps he’s meeting longtime girlfriend, Livia, who might be arriving for a visit from Genoa? He always meets her at the bus stop… Or, perhaps, they’re enjoying a romantic dinner together nearby at his favorite ristorante? Ah, but those scenes, along with many other exterior  Vigàta shots, take place in Ragusa Ilba.

Off we go to Ragusa Ilba, another Baroque gem in the Val di Noto. After climbing and walking and searching…no sign of Salvo or Livia…discouraged but not defeated…there’s only one more possibility…

Let's Go to Italy Together!⇒ Next Clue: He must be home?! But Salvo’s fictional Marinella is actually Punta Seca where he lives by the sea…

Again, his fame has been embraced by locals. It isn’t difficult to find his famous seaside “residence”.PuntaSeca4Now, we are beyond excited! So much happens here! Enjoying the meals that Adelina has left for him, dinners with Livia on the terrace (usually interrupted), those long swims…

But, again, no sign of Salvo. The terrace is empty. He’s not sipping an espresso in his robe or pouring a glass of wine as the sun sets…not shouting on the phone, not gazing out to sea and musing over the latest case…ah, peccatoPunta Seca- Montalbano

And no sign as I look out to sea…I see swimmers…is that you? No…not this time. I guess I’ll have to wait for the next episode or the next visit in hopes of, at least, a sighting of the elusive Inspector!Punta Seca- MontalbanoLet's Go to Italy Together!

♥ It’s no mystery that I LOVE Montalbano, Sicily, and All Things Sicilian! ♥

And I want to share that love with YOU!

Won’t you join me on an incredible immersion into all things Sicilian? Come and be captivated and seduced by the spectacular cities and towns, the iconic archeological sites, the exquisite local cuisine and wines, visiting some of the Montalbano and The Godfather filming locations…  And most of all…by the warmth and hospitality of the Sicilian people!

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Only in Sicily!

Andrea Camilleri on Montalbano

Suggested Reading/Viewing:

The Inspector Montalbano Mystery Series by Andrea Camilleri

Inspector Montalbano starring Luca Zingaretti
Young Montalbano starring Michael Riondino


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About PostcardZ from Victoria

Wish you were here! I love sharing my passion for travel and insights I've learned along the way. Enjoy my travel tips and inspiration with a lighthearted twist! Join me as we create a forum for sharing experiences and information! Enjoy my newly updated & edited book, "Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style!" with MORE great TipZ and then, let's go to Italy together!
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