Italian News Headlines 26-09-2023 - Cosa Nostra mafia boss, Messina Denaro, has died of colon cancer at the age of 62. He was being held in a maximum security prison after 30 years on the run. He was responsible for dozens of murders including those of anti-mafia magistrates, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino --- Giorgio Napolitano, the only Italian President to be elected twice, has died in Rome at the age of 98 --- Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, met with European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, on the Italian island of Lampedusa to discuss the European refugee crisis after more than 7,000 migrants arrived from Tunisia in a single week --- Venetian authorities vote to introduce 'ticket only' access to the city from 2024 --- A man who posted a video of himself carving his name into the wall of the Colosseum, while his girlfriend watched, has been identified as living in Britain --- Following the death of Silvio Berlusconi, on June 12th, Antonio Tajani will be appointed the new president of Forza Italia --- Silvio Berlusconi, 4 times Italian prime minister, has died at the age of 86 from complications resulting from Leukaemia --- Extreme weather in Emilia-Romagna has led to 14 dead and 35,000 displaced. There are 500 roads closed and over over 300 sites at risk of landslides --- Two new victims of the Vesuvius eruption in 79AD have been discovered during excavations in Pompei
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 Vigàta which is in the equally fictional province of Montelusa. Andrea Camilleri based Vigàta 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 - Photo: Catarella

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 Marina di Ragusa, Ragusa Ibla and Modica which provide an exotic backdrop for the drama and some stunning scenery for the viewers.

Inspector Montalbano, Il commissario Montalbano, Luca Zingaretti
Marina di Ragusa
Inspector Montalbano, Il commissario Montalbano, Luca Zingaretti
Ragusa Ibla
Inspector Montalbano, Il commissario Montalbano, Luca Zingaretti

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.

Inspector Montalbano, Il commissario Montalbano, Luca Zingaretti
Luca Zingharetti

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.

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Inspector Montalbano, Il commissario Montalbano, Luca Zingaretti

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