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The Area
 
  Describing the Sicilian province of Ragusa to people who have never visited it, it is like to tell a plot of a book to those who have not read it yet. 
So, we will make you to leaf through the most typical and charming pages of the Iblea area.
   
MONTALBANO'S PLACES










fonti:
www.sottocoperta.net www.commissariomontalbano.org
 

Andrea Camilleri, the author of the Inspector Salvo Montalbano(Luca Zingaretti), staged his stories in an imaginary world, the fruit of the union of the most important corners of places like Porte Empedocle, Sciacca, Menfi and other cities of the zone.

Points of the literary work
(Vigata, Marinella, Montelusa, la Mannara), were recreated by director Alberto Sironi and by designer Luciano Ricceri largely in the province of Ragusa. Other scenes were also in San Vito Lo Capo(TP), Tindari(ME), Favignana and Syracuse.

The majority of the sites linked to the set of the TV series Inspector Montalbano is located in the province of Ragusa, although the descriptions of the places in fiction narrated by Andrea Camilleri are those related to as they were in its infancy, in the province of Agrigento.
For example, the Fiacca is Sciacca, Fela is Gela, Vigata(in the province of Montelusa namely Agrigento) is actually Porto Empedocle, and recalls the sound Licata birthplace of Andrea Camilleri.
Places now become too different from the illustrations in the books, and therefore it was decided to shoot the film elsewhere.
Ragusa, Scicli , Modica, Comiso , Vittoria, Ispica and Santa Croce are the municipalities that, along with many private residences, enriched, with their undeniable architectural beauty, the scenery of the episodes of the hit television series, which is a mix of colors, tastes and traditions typical of Sicily.

Punta Secca
A destination not to be missed for fans of the series is the fishing village, of Arab origin Punta Secca("Ain Keseb" is the ancient Arabic name of Punta Secca), where is the Commissioner of Marinella’s house , in a cottage in the square adjacent to the famous beach.
The village is characterized by the presence of the lighthouse built by the Navy in 1853, 34 meters high, the ancient local fish for the season, the warehouses, the church and the tower of Scalambri(XVI cent.).
Dedicated to Our Lady Portosalvo are the harbour and the pretty little church .

Sampieri
Along the scenic coastal road in the direction of Donnalucata(Marinella) you come near Sampieri: on the cliff of Pisciotto, just east of Sampieri is the
Fornace Mormino Penna, or la Mànnara, in an isolated and poorly attended at all, as it Montalbano said.
In fiction is referred to as the trap, it was actually a furnace that produced tiles and bricks.

Donnalucata
Continuing, in the seaside village of Donnalucata(Marinella) you can stroll on the beautiful seafront scenery of the Vigata’s seafront.

Ragusa Ibla
This gem is inserted into the UNESCO World Heritage Site .
In the main square were filmed several scenes where there is also the Mother Church of Vigata(Duomo di San Giorgio).
If you're a fan of Montalbano, be sure to try the "Trattoria da Calogero", or La Rusticana, where Salvo Montalbano and Mimi Augello habitually consume their favorite meals.

Scicli
The beautiful and ancient Baroque town of Scicli is a World Heritage Site: have followed the Greeks , Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Barbarians, Saracens, Normans, Swabians, Aragonese….
Among the many buildings will recognize the exterior of Police Station of Vigata, or the Town Hall in Italy Square, and the Police Headquarters Montelusa or Palazzo Iacono  in Mormino Penna road.

Modica
Many of the scenes representing Vigata are also held in Modica, for example the staircase that leads to the house of the coroner; the house of the journalist, Polara Palace, the mutual aid societies, the church of St. Peter, the palace of the studies are envisioned where the local power of attorney and the prosecutor's room .


Donnafugata Castle, rebuilt and embellished in the nineteenth century by baron Corrado Arezzo de Spuches.
The building, formerly the movie set of "Il Gattopardo" by Ludovico Visconti, was Montalbano’s set, as home of boss Balduccio Sinagra.

   
POZZALLO

Pozzallo means "well close to the sea" because in the past there were some fresh water wells used by the ships passing through.
It overlooks a wide cove extending from Punta Raganzino to Contrada Marza through beaches, dunes and small promontories.
The presence of human settlements goes back to far ages: actually, cemeteries and ruins – found by the archaeologist Paolo Orsi, coins of the Roman age and further finds of the Byzantine age have been found. 
Its historical importance is relatively recent and dates back to the 14th century, age in which the Chiaramontes’ family of the county of Modica built a loader to transport goods by sea.
Afterwards, in 1429, because of the constant attacks of piracy to wheat and agriproducts supplies, both a tower in defence of the loader and new warehouses were built under the control of the Count Giovanni Bernardo Cabrera.
Little by little, the original hamlet around the tower is moved in a farmhouse: the church consecrated to S. Maria of Portosalvo was built in 1746 and only in 1829 Pozzallo became a self-governing town.
Nowadays, the Cabrera tower is both a very important national monument from a historical point of view and the town’s coat of arms and symbol.

 

 


Pozzallo is the only seaside town of the province of Ragusa: it spreads 2 km out over the Mediterranean sea and it pleases its inhabitants and tourists with two big beaches with thin and gilt sand.
The beach called Raganzino, placed in the homonymous district, is ideal for those who love quiet places and it is equipped with bathing establishments, bars, showers and various services. Moreover, it is possible to admire the characteristic Di Martino Castle which dominates this beach.
The beach called Pietrenere is provided with a wide car-parking, a cycle track, some bathing establishments, discopubs, ice-cream parlours, bars, cafeterias and a playing area.
Since the 2002 Pozzallo has been receiving the Bandiera Blu, a prize which is only awarded to the cleanest and the most equipped beaches in Italy.
Trips with the island of Malta are particularly well organized: it is also possible to reach the Cavalieri island with a catamaran within an hour and an half.
In the summer time, beach volley and soccer matches, lessons of Latin-American dances and spin bike are also organized.
The Cabrera tower is both a very important national monument from a historical point of view and the town’s coat of arms and symbol.

It is also possible to visit Piazza Rimembranza, the Palazzo Musso, the Palazzo Pandolfi and the Villa Tedeschi. 
On the main street of the town it is possible to visit the Palazzo di Città which is surrounded by a beautiful park. In front of it, there is the Mother Church consecrated to the Our Lady of the Rosary. 
Giorgio La Pira (1904-1977), "holy mayor" of the city of Florence, has been a distinguished figure of the history of the town.

   
RAGUSA

At 32 km away from Pozzallo, Ragusa is placed between two valleys and has been declared UNESCO world heritage. 
The town is divided into two distinct cores, the modern town of Ragusa and Ragusa Ibla.
In Ragusa, it is possible to visit the cathedral consecrated to Saint John the Baptist with its majestic baroque portal and its stuccoes. 
The Archaeological Ibleo Museum, where various finds, ceramics and earthenware statues (found through some excavations in the area around the city) are exhibited, is divided into several sections: prehistory, Kamarina, Sicilian culture, Hellenistic age, Roman and Byzantine age.

Rebuilt after the earthquake of 1693, the baroque Church of Our Lady of the Stairs still preserves the portal and the pulpit of the medieval bell tower and it rises on the top of 340 steps which join the town to Ibla.

In
 Ragusa Ibla, rich in medieval and baroque works of art, it is possible to admire the cathedral of Saint George which rises in Piazza Duomo on the ruins of the ancient church consecrated to Saint Nicholas – elegantly surrounded by baroque buildings – where the human remains of the Count Cabrera (Count of the town of Ragusa) are guarded.
Furthermore, it is also possible to visit: the portal of Saint George, the Church of Our Lady of the Stairs, the Church of the Purgatory, the Palazzo Nicastro, the Church of the Idria, the Palazzo Cosentini, the Circolo of Conversazione, the Donnafugata castle and the Church of Saint Joseph.
 
Finally, it is really worth to visit the evocative Ibleo park which includes the Churches Of The Old Capuchins and Saint James.

   
MODICA

At 20 km away from Pozzallo, Modica has known as the “one hundred churches” town. It is in a wide quarry which divides it in high Modica and low Modica and has been declared UNESCO world heritage for its priceless baroque beauties.
It was the most important town in Sicily – in the past, it was defined Rome’s granary – as capital of the county which corresponded mostly to the present province of Ragusa. 
In order to appreciate deeply this lovely town rich in baroque beauties, it is necessary to visit it by foot. 
In Modica, ancient small streets and steps cross each other and it is possible to taste the famous chocolate which is still nowadays produce according to the ancient Aztec recipe.
The most important sights which is possible to see in this Baroque town are: the cathedral of Saint George which overlooks the high part of the town with its majestic 254 steps and the Church of Saint Peter, placed in the low town and decorated with the statues of the twelve apostles. 
Also the Palace of the Mercedari, the Church of Our Lady of Bethlehem, the rock Church of Saint Nicolas, the museum of popular arts and traditions and the Counts’ castle are very important from a historical point of view.
Furthermore, it is possible to visit the native house of the poet Salvatore Quasimodo, awarded with the Nobel prize for literature.

   
SIRACUSA

Siracusa, the city of Archimede, 60 km from Pozzallo, rich in culture, embodies the past and present in more than three thousand years of history.
In the historic district of Ortigia island linked to the mainland by bridge Umberto I, to visit the Temple of Apollo, the Fountain of Arethusa, where the original papyrus, Castello Maniace and Piazza Duomo with baroque palaces where there is the main York Minster, the cathedral of Saint Lucia.
This is a Christian cathedral built on greek temple where even today in its side wall you can see the Doric columns of the ancient Temple of Minerva.
Also in the Piazza Duomo is not to miss Vermexio Palace(City Hall), the Archbishop's Palace, the Borgia Casale and the Church of St. Lucia to the Abbey where inside is still guarded the Caravaggio painting "The Burial of St. Lucia".
On hot summer days, coming to Largo Porta Marina, a structure of the Spanish era you can take advantage of a boat tour around the island of Ortigia.
In the upper part of the city you can admire the Archaeological Park where we find inside the Greek Theatre that is used for shows and plays, the Altar of Hieron, the Roman Amphitheatre Latomia of Paradise, and the Rope Makers Cave the Ear of Dionysius. Hence the Tyrant of Syracuse could, thanks to the acoustics of the cave, to feel when the prisoners were plotting against him.
In the nearby area are the Archaeological Museum "Paolo Orsi" one of the most important in Europe, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Tears and the caves of the Capuchins.
   
NOTO

At 20 km away from Pozzallo, Noto is defined "the stone garden". 
This town, rich in art and culture, has also known as the "Baroque capital" and has been declared UNESCO world heritage for its enormous historical-artistic and natural heritage which charms the tourist visiting it.

The most important sights to see are: the cathedral – finished in 1776 and consecrated to Saint Nicholas – which has, at the end of a three flights stairs, a wide façade delimited by two bell towers. On the second floor, it is also possible to see both the ruins of the dome, unfortunately collapsed in 1996, and a wide part of the nave.

To the sides of the cathedral, it is possible to admire the Palazzo Vescovile and the Palazzo Landolina of Saint Alfano. It is also worth to visit: the Palazzo Nicolaci where the prince Villadorata lived, the Palazzo Ducezio which is the town hall, the Civic Museum, the Church of Saint Francis, Palazzo Frigoria, the Church of Saint Charles, the Church of Saint Dominic, the Church of the Most Holy Crucifix.

Every year, during the third Sunday of the month of May, it is possible to admire the "Infiorata": in this occasion, the Corrado Nicolaci street is covered with a floral carpet.
Nowadays, the “Infiorata” is considered one of the most beautiful shows of the whole island.

   
VENDICARI

For those who love the nature, the natural reserve of Vendicari or also known as "the oasis or fauna of Vendicari", is a real oasis of peace and calm which extends on a surface of around 1512 hectares. The particular climatic conditions of the oasis make it an area favourite by a lot of different kinds of migratory birds.
Made by a narrow strip of earth along the stretch of coast extending from Noto to Pachino, the reserve of Vendicari is considered "the hotel of the birds" (over 500 different species of birds): it is a place where birds can feed and have a rest.
The most numerous presences are recorded during the month of December, but also in autumn and spring.
In this reserve, it is also possible to admire some gorgeous landscapes such as: the set of the 15th century castle and its tower, defined Swabian for the typology of its base structure, the houses of fishermen, the salines, the establishments where the fish is treated and the 18th century “tonnara” with its smoke-stack.

   
DONNAFUGATA

At 40 Km away from Pozzallo, the Donnafugata castle was built by the Baron Corrado Arezzo on a 13th century old tower in 1800. 
The origin of the name “Donnafugata” is regional: actually, the dialect name "Ronnafugata" means “woman escaped”.

The history tells about a titled woman, the Queen Bianca of Navarra, imprisoned by the perfidious Count Bernardo Cabrera in this castle. Luckily, the queen succeeded to escape through the lands surrounding the castle.
The castle holds an area of around 2500 square metres and there are around 122 decorated and furnished rooms in it. It is worth to visit all of them but some of the rooms are closed to the public because they have to be restored.
Particularly, the hall of the coats of arms, the room of the mirrors and the hall of the music are gorgeous.
The vast garden with many Mediterranean and exotic plants hides a small circular temple, the "Pirdituri" – that is, a stone labyrinth – and the neoclassic "Coffee House" where the nobles were used to consume their refreshments.

The producer Luchino Visconti set the movie "Il Gattopardo" (The Leopard) here.

   
SCICLI

At 20 Km away from Pozzallo, the town of Scicli has a huge value artistic property, characterized by a mixture of various stylistic elements including the classicism, the late Baroque, the rococo and the eclecticism. 
The reason why Scicli has been declared UNESCO world heritage is for its wonderful and charming F. Mormino Penna street through which it is possible to reach the town hall and the gorgeous patrician residences.
 
In Scicli, the famous “ Il Commissario Montalbano” fiction has been set. This character has been created by the writer Camilleri and during the realisation of the fiction some buildings in the town have been used for the set: actually, in the fiction, the town hall is the Police Station of Licata, the Palazzo Iacono is the Police Headquarters of Montelusa, the Fornace Of the Pisciotto in Sampieri is the Mannara and finally the Donnalucata promenade is the beach of Licata.
Other sights of remarkable importance are: the church of Saint John the Evangelist, jewel of theSicilian baroque art, the church of Saint Bartholomew, the Palazzo Fava, the church of Carmine, the Palazzo Beneventano and the church of Our Lady La Nova.

   
ISPICA

At 10 Km away from Pozzallo, Ispica, town rich in art and history, called Spaccaforno in ancient times, has an unusual cultural and natural property characterized by the archaeological area of quarry of Ispica and the archaeological Forza park. 
In Ispica, there are some important late-Baroque and Liberty artistic beauties such as: the Palazzo Bruno of Belmonte which is the town hall nowadays, recognised as the most prestigious Liberty building in the province of Ragusa, the basilica of Our Major Lady, the sanctuary of Our Lady of the Carmelo, the church of Saint Bartholomew and the church of Our Lady of the Annunciation.