Inspector Montalbano, Il commissario Montalbano, Luca Zingaretti

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Inspector Montalbano (Il commissario Montalbano)
Inspector Montalbano, Il commissario Montalbano,  Luca Zingaretti
Inspector Montalbano (Il commissario Montalbano) is a popular Italian TV series based on the detective novels written by Andrea Camilleri and since 1999 has been produced and broadcast by RAI television. It has become popular in English speaking countries and is shown in Italian (with English subtitles) in the United Kingdom (BBC), the USA (MHz Networks' Worldview Channel) and in Australia (Special Broadcasting Service).

The stories are set in Sicily and the original novels were written in a mixture of Italian, original Sicilian and Sicilian dialect. The stories, as well as accurately portraying Sicilian attitudes and traditions, are light-hearted and refreshing with some shrewd detective work. It is a nice touch that even though there are brutal murders and forensic examinations the audience is not subjected to all the gory details.

The star of the show is Inspector Salvo Montalbano (played by Luca Zingaretti) who is candid, decent, droll and has a likeable but petulant character, all of which make him an enchanting hero. Regarded by his superiors as a complete dissident, Inspector Montalbano somehow manages to manoeuvre his way adeptly through a shadowy world full of dubious connections and unsavoury characters without getting caught up in the political conspiracies and old mafia wars that scar the area. He conducts his detective work in the old fashioned way by using his instinct and a gaggle of local informants and is likely to turn a blind eye if he feels that a crime has been committed for moral reasons.

The series closely follows the plot of the original novels and is set in the fictional town of Vigāta which is in the equally fictional province of Montelusa. Andrea Camilleri based Vigāta on his home town of Porto Empedocle, on Sicily's south-west coast, and he based Montelusa on the province of Agrigento. The show is actually filmed in a series of different locations, mainly in the province of Ragusa in the south of Sicily. Both Montalbano's headquarters and the offices of Quaestor Bonetti-Alderighiare are based in the town of Scicli.
Inspector Montalbano, Il commissario Montalbano,  Luca Zingaretti
Montalbano's headquarters
Photo - G.Melfi

The town hall is used for Montalbano's headquarters and the actual offices of the mayor of Scicli represent the offices of Quaestor Bonetti-Alderighi.
Inspector Montalbano, Il commissario Montalbano,  Luca Zingaretti
Montalbano's House
Photo - Marco

Salvo Montalbano's house with its distinctive balconies overlooking the sea is located in Punta Secca, south west of Ragusa. The lighthouse in the town there would be clearly visible from his balcony.
Inspector Montalbano, Il commissario Montalbano,  Luca Zingaretti
Lighthouse Punto Secco
Photo - Alessandro Zocco
Inspector Montalbano, Il commissario Montalbano,  Luca Zingaretti
Castello di Donnafugata

The retired Mafia boss, Balduccio Sinagra, and his family are housed in the Castello di Donnafugata which belongs to Ragusa town council and is outside the town of Ragusa.
The bridge in the opening shots is the Irminio Bridge which links the towns of Modica and Ragusa and is the highest bridge on the island of Sicily.
Inspector Montalbano, Il commissario Montalbano,  Luca Zingaretti
Fornace Penna
Photo - G.Melfi

A popular crime scene which has been used a few times is 'Fornace Penna' just outside Scicli which from 1909 was a factory making bricks that were exported to many Mediterranean countries. It is now abandoned and considered to be of industrial architectural interest.
Other regular locations are Ragusa Ibla, Modica and Marina di Ragusa which provide an exotic backdrop for the drama and some stunning scenery for the viewers.
Inspector Montalbano, Il commissario Montalbano,  Luca Zingaretti
Regular characters and cast list
Character Role Actor
Commissario Salvo Montalbano Police Commissioner of Vigāta Luca Zingaretti
Livia Burlando Montalbano's girlfriend

(Series 1 - 4)
Katharina Böhm

(Series 5 - 8)
Claudia Catani

(Series 9)
Lina Perned
Vice–Commissario Domenico 'Mimė' Augello Montalbano's deputy Cesare Bocci
Beatrice 'Beba' di Leo Girlfriend, then wife of Mimi Augello Carmelinda Gentile
Ispettore Giuseppe Fazio Detective from Vigāta Peppino Mazzotta
Sovrintendente Agatino Catarella Police officer from Vigāta Angelo Russo
Sovrintendente Galluzzo Police officer from Vigāta Davide Lo Verde
Agente Gallo Police officer from Vigāta Francesco Stella
Agente Tortorella Police officer from Vigāta
(replaces Gallo in later episodes)
Marco Cavallaro
Ispettore Barbara Bellini Temporary Police officer and daughter
of a friend of Montalbano
Maria Cristina Marocco
Jacomuzzi Police forensics specialist Giovanni Guardiano
Pasquano The local Coroner Marcello Perracchio
Bonetti-Alderighi Montalbano's superior and
the Questore of Montelusa,
the provincial capital
Giacinto Ferro
Lattes Bonetti's secretary Corrado Invernizzi
Nicolō Zito Journalist of TV station Rete Libera,
and trusted friend of Montalbano
Roberto Nobile
Anna Tropeano Friend of Montalbano Biancamaria D'Amato
Ingrid Sjostrom (Season 2) Friend of Montalbano Isabell Sollman
Burgio Former school principal and
long-time friend of Montalbano
Pippo Pattavina
Don Balduccio Sinagra A former Mafia boss, now retired Francesco Sineri
L'ex questore di Montelusa The former Questore of Montelusa Pietro Biondi
Inspector Montalbano, Il commissario Montalbano,  Luca Zingaretti
Luca Zingaretti
Photo - Filippo Caranti

The leading role of Inspector Salvo Montalbano is played by the Italian actor Luca Zingaretti who was born in Rome on November 11th 1961 and is the elder brother of politician and President of Lazio, Nicola Zingaretti.

Luca began his acting career in the theatre but made his film debut in 1987 with a minor role in 'Gli occhiali d'oro' ('The Gold-Rimmed Glasses). Many other films followed and he continued to work in the theatre but it wasn't until he took the leading role in Commissario Salvo Montalbano that he finally achieved stardom.

Being a native of Rome, Luca Zingaretti had to work hard for the series in order to attain the difficult Sicilian accent.

Watch an episode of 'Inspector Montalbano'