Inspector Montalbano
(Il Commissario Montalbano)


"Montalbano sono!"

With these words - his habitual telephone greeting on the series - Italian actor Luca Zingaretti cements his claim on the role of Andrea Camilleri's popular Sicilian detective.

Il Commissario Montalbano, Inspector Montalbano in the English translation, is the hero of seventeen Andrea Camilleri novels. To date, all seventeen (plus one) have been filmed with Luca Zingaretti in the lead.

Luca Zingaretti - Montalbano Personified

Luca Zingaretti's Montalbano is sharp, unconventional, anti-authoritarian, and prone to impatience with his peers, yet exceedingly patient with those who he senses are fragile in some way. He loves to eat, and refuses to talk while concentrating on his food. He is intuitive in his approach to solving crimes, and doesn't let red tape or regulations stand in his way of getting results.

Zingaretti, a Roman by birth, captures the nuances of the Sicilian character through his gestures, facial expressions and vocal delivery. Here's a quick example (sorry, no subtitles!):

Andrea Camilleri - Montalbano's Creator

Andrea Camilleri is a former stage and television director and lecturer who began writing novels in 1978 at the age of 53. After two failures he put aside fiction until 1992 when his third novel became a best seller. Two years later he wrote the first Inspector Montalbano novel, La Forma dell'Acqua (The Shape of Water).

In 1998 Camilleri won the Nino Martoglio International Book Award, and a year later the first Montalbano television adaption was filmed. The television series contributed greatly to Camilleri's popularity and he has continued writing Inspector Montalbano novels in between other projects. He currently works as a television and theater director in Rome, and has recently been knighted by the Italian government. Over 10 million copies of his novels have been sold to date, gaining popularity in the UK and North America.

[For a full list of the novels, please click on Inspector Montalbano Novels.]

The Setting of Inspector Montalbano

The Commissario Montalbano stories are set in a fictional town named Vigata, but the series is filmed in the southern Sicilian city of Ragusa.

This short clip of the opening sequence will give you an idea of the magnificent setting:

Sicily Travel Net offers a tour of the locations featured in Camilleri's Montalbano novels. For more details, visit Montalbano Tour.

They also offer a tour of specific locations used for the television series. Here is the link: 
Montalbano Locations Tours.

Montalbano's English Subtitles

SBS, the Australian multicultural television network, produced subtitles for all four series before broadcasting them on the SBS network. Il Commissario Montalbano ran on Italian television from 1999 to 2008, and the subtitled version is still shown on SBS.

If you have a Sicilian background, you may enjoy hearing some of the language scattered throughout these programs. But even if you have no connection with Sicily, the strong storylines are more than enough reason to watch. Not to mention the gruffly charismatic Luca Zingaretti/Salvo Montalbano and his appealing crew - the loyal and lovable Fazio, the inept self-styled Casanova Mimi, the bumbling assistant Catarella, the stoic officer Galuzzo, plus Montalbano's long-suffering lover, Livia. The series is perfectly cast, from leads to guest stars, and combines humor with intelligent crime solving.

If you speak or understand Italian, you can watch all the Il Commissario Montalbano episodes on Rai Uno.

Important Notice:

Inspector Montalbano DVDs are now available in the NTSC format with subtitles so US and Canadian residents no longer require a multi-region DVD player for playback.

However, if you still require one for playing other European or Australian DVDs, here is the link to Amazon's low cost model (around $60):

You'll notice on the Amazon site that the Philips model (above) has more positive reviews than the cheapest DVD player (retailing for around $35.00). You can buy a multi-region DVD player in stores, but we haven't found one as economically priced as the Philips model offered online.

What you purchase is up to you, but we recommend you take some time to read the  online customer reviews of each product before you make up your mind. You can get free shipping with most Amazon purchases over $50, and there is a return policy. If you're interested in watching top rated Italian language programs like Don Mateo, La Piovra (the Octopus), Il Commissario Montalbano and Rex in Rome, none of which are shown on North American television, a multi-region DVD player is a worthwhile investment.

Where To Buy Inspector Montalbano DVDS

The Inspector Montalbano TV programs are available in several formats:

  • Single episodes with subtitles (NTSC format)
  • Boxed sets (4-5 episodes) with subtitles (NTSC format)
  • Boxed sets with subtitles (PAL format) from Australia
  • Single episodes (PAL format) from Italy - NO SUBTITLES
  • Boxed sets (PAL format) from Italy - NO SUBTITLES

Each episode is a 90-minute full-length television adaption of one of Camilleri's novels.

You can browse the collections available from our affiliate partners by clicking on this link:

Inspector Montalbano DVDs

Episodes 1-5

Episodes 6-10

Episodes 11-14

Episodes 15-18

To purchase the Inspector Montalbano DVDs in Australia, visit any ABC Shop.