Inspector Montalbano as well as the other Camilleri's characters are not imaginable in a non-Sicilian setting. Sicily with its ambiguities, its passions, its flavors, its winkning and mocking inhabitants is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for the writer from Porto Empedocle.
In his first novel, Camilleri candidly admits being unable to set a story in a different place:
"setting a story in London or New York remains the highest and unfortunately always disappointed ambition of the author. .. he knows the location of Bond Street or Fifth Avenue, but he ignores practically everything of the men who walk and live there.
On the contrary,he thinks he knows everything about his town and has the ambition to be able to guess even the thoughts of his fellow countrymen... now, having imagined a fictional story, he could not help to anchor it in the houses and streets he knows best... "
This inseparable relationship with the Sicilian motherland lived by other Sicilian writers almost like a punishment (L. Sciascia) for Camilleri means happiness and enrichment extraordinary enough to feel the need to return to Sicily periodically to "rinse clothes":
"Meets my needs to drink this water from this source. I like it. Why should I look for another?"
Montalbano's Sicily is South West Sicily. Vigata and Montelusa are places that cannot be found on the map
but which are geographically located in the area between the hill of Girgenti and the Sea of Africa, Agrigento and Porto Empedocles. And then Fiacca (Sciacca), Fela (Gela), Muntiriali (Realmonte), Gaddotti (Giardina Gallotti), Raccadali (Raffadali) and so on .... Coastal Sicily but also inner Sicily, harsh, parched, arid, barren with the houses built on the edge of the hills, almost ready to fall ...
Then, there is a different Sicily used as a set in the TV episodes, a number of different locations clustered around Ragusa in the island`s South East (Ibla, Scicli, Modica, Punta Secca and other seaside villages) and pieced together to create the fictional town seen in the TV films. A more gorgeous Sicily with breath-taking landscapes, Baroque churches and stunning views that has made millions of viewers in Italy and abroad fall in love with the area. .
"Do you think that my commissario would ever go to live in a two-story house, so beautiful and gorgeous? Infact, he likes a little house with three rooms in a row. But the beach is fine with me, and even the balcony. Come to think of it, the whole thing is unbelievable: there is a literary Vigata here, in Porto Empedocle, and a fictional Vigata used a set for the TV films there in Ragusa. ".
"Now that happens to me when I'm writing a new Montalbano story: I'm influenced not so much by
the Montalbano TV character but the scenery seen on television... "