As gripping as the TV series Inspector Montalbano is, if you find yourself staring more at the stunning baroque architecture and beautiful Sicilian landscapes than you do at the detective himself, maybe it’s time to book yourself a holiday to Sicily.
Shot in the picturesque south-east side of the island, the detective series has whetted the appetite of many travellers looking to bring those beautiful vistas off the small screen and into real life by visiting Montalbano's Sicily. From the small rural towns of Scicli, Ragusa Ibla and Modica, the series’ creators have merged many locations in south-east Sicily together to make the backdrop for the inspector’s world. Now you could discover them all with a stay in the beautiful region.
Here’s my guide to visiting Montalbano's Sicily.
The Real Vigata
In the series Montalbano lives and works in the fictional town of Vigata. While the name is made up, the beautiful Baroque buildings in which he works and lives do actually exist. Take a pilgrimage to the towns of south-east Sicily and you can tread in the policeman’s footsteps and discover some beautiful locations.
If the opening credits of the show are enough to make you sigh with longing for the Sicilian landscape then why not discover the place where it all begins. The Ponte Guerreri Viaduct is featured in the opening sequence of each show and is set in the beautiful Baroque town of Modica, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A visit to the town will uncover other treasures used as backdrops to the action in the series, such as the imposing Palazzo Polara and the Church of San Giorgio.
Out to Lunch With the Inspector
There is no other image that quite conjures up the life of the detective like that of him enjoying lunch in his favourite Trattoria San Calogero, so it would make no sense visiting Montalbano's Sicily without a trip to the real life restaurant in which it is filmed. The restaurant is actually the Trattoria La Rusticana on Corso XXV Aprile in the beautiful town of Ragusa Ibla.
Ragusa Ibla is a wonderful place to visit, set in a stunning UNESCO-listed landscape and featuring some beautiful medieval buildings, many of which have appeared more than once in the detective show. Highlights include the Gothic Church of Maria delle Scale, the stunning Cathedral of San Giorgio and the neo-classical Circolo di Conversazione.
The elegant Police Headquarters which we often see the protagonist strolling in and out of is actually the Palazzo di Città – or town hall – of the medieval town of Scicli. A Baroque masterpiece, it is the centre of the town whose narrow, winding streets and pretty piazzas fans of the show will recognise from many scenes and locations. If the Palazzo di Città whets your appetite for the beauty of this style of architecture then it’s well worth checking out the Via Francesco Mormino Penna while you’re here.
Where to Stay
The beautiful boutique hotels of this region are one of the best reasons for visiting Montalbano's Sicily.
The Novocento Hotel in Scicli, with its authentic, historic charm, is just a short walk from the fictional police headquarters and a great base in the town.
The La Dimora di Piazza Carmine is a beautiful nineteenth-century hotel in Ragusa, set in the old part of town with stunning views over the World Heritage landscape.
In Modica I would recommend the Palazzo Failla, a tranquil eighteenth-century palazzo in a beautiful location.
John Dixon is an experienced world traveller and the Managing Director of Prestige Holidays. For over 30 years, he has been providing luxury holidays all over the Mediterranean, as well as holidays in Bermuda, Croatia and many other destinations around the globe. John tries to visit each of the destinations regularly in order to ensure the quality of his properties, and as a result is an expert on topics as diverse as Moroccan food and visiting Montalbano's Sicily. He has a taste for the finer things in life and has an interest in arts and history.