On Location with Commissario Montalbano

The pleasures of watching the Italian TV series “Commissario Montalbano” are exceeded only by seeing where the series is filmed in person. Until recently, this building in Ragusa, Sicily, served as the set for the police station where Montalbano has his office.

If you’ve watched the series, you’ll remember that the doctor who examines the corpses is often found at his club, which is just across the street from Montalbano’s “office” in what has, in fact, been a private men’s “conversation” club for more than a century. The sign, “Circolo di Conversazione,” means club, society or association for “conversation,” a term that might include not only conversation, but also gambling, billiards, making business deals, dining and entertainments.

Conversation Club, Ragusa, Sicily

Good news for Montalbano fans who thought they had already seen every episode: Filming continues now in Modica, Sicily (below).

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Modica is justly famous for its marvelous pastries, which typically incorporate almonds, and for an unusual chocolate of Aztec origin that has a grainy, almost sandy, texture owing to a low cooking temperature that leaves the sugar in its granulated form. I encountered the pastries below at the Love Sicily Cookery School.

Monica pastries.jpg

It’s unlikely that Montalbano’s stunning seaside villa is in Ragusa or Modica, both of which are inland from the warm Mediterranean waters where Montalbano takes a daily swim. But, if you can find Montalbano’s villa, you may be able to rent it.