Thousands of tourists, fascinated by Andrea Camilleri’s mystery novels, choose to go to Sicily to visit the places where the Inspector Montalbano’s stories are set: the fictional town of Vigata, where also the TV series is set, attracts those romantic travelers who want to go and seek the “sciauro” (Sicilian word for “smells”) and the tastes of Salvo’s beloved land.
Let’s start from what we all immediately associate to the Inspector Montalbano’s stories: the porch, overlooking the sea, of the house in Marinella, where Salvo lives together with Livia. Most of the scenes of the TV series are shot in Punta Secca, a lido in the seaside town of Santa Croce Camerina. After taking a selfie in front of Salvo’s house and sharing it with your friends, go and dive into the blue waters where Montalbano goes swimming every morning.
Following in the footsteps of Inspector Montalbano, we get to Modica, to one of Sicily’s most extraordinary baroque churches: the Chiesa di San Giorgio. Its majestic staircase is where Salvo often stops and waits for Livia to come by bus; its pensile garden, which is the filming location of the episode “La vampa d’agosto”, is where the coroner Dottor Pasquano has his house. Salvo loves bothering him during the investigations: he loves “rompere o scassare o sbriciolare i cabbasisi” (Sicilian expressions that mean “breaking somebody’s balls”).
You will discover the treasures of Baroque art in Modica, while you imagine Salvo conducting investigations together with his deputy and close friend Mimì Augello, with the discreet inspector Giuseppe Fazio, and with the funny and spacey officer Agatino Catarella.
After going in pursuit of the local traditional food’s smells and after experiencing the atmosphere of alleys that take your memory to the streets of Vigata, you can now take a break from the city to go and visit the Cava d’Ispica archeological park. There you can find the biggest underground burial place in Sicily, the Larderia’s catacombs, where Inspector Montalbano handled a strange kidnapping case in the episode “La pazienza del ragno”.
Speaking of Inspector Montalbano, we can’t not mention the elderly godfather Balduccio Sinagra: his house, in the TV series, is set in the Castello di Donnafugata, a sumptuous noble mansion of the late ‘800, located in Ragusa. Some of this castle’s attractions are its big park and a labyrinth commissioned by the baron Corrado Arezzo de Spuches, who was the eccentric owner of the castle.
If you want to visit other locations from the TV series, stop by the Municipio di Scicli (Scicli’s Town Hall), where the Vigata’s police station scenes are filmed.
Go and visit Comiso, where the episode “Gli arancini di Montalbano” was filmed. The Istituto Sacro Cuore di Maria is set in the town’s former fish market; the Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Stelle is the amazing setting of some of the TV series scenes.
But if you love the novels more than the TV series, you should go and explore the wonders of Sicily that the town of Agrigento has to offer. Not far from it, you can find Porto Empedocle, the town where Andrea Camilleri was born and that inspired the fictional town of Vigata.
Those listed above are only some of the places that provide the backdrop to Salvo’s murder cases, investigations and love stories. Hidden among the pages of the Inspector Montalbano books there is still a lot more about Sicily that needs to be discovered.