This is the second part of our tour around the filming locations of the popular TV series Inspector Montalbano. And for those of you who have not read the first part, and shame on you if you haven’t then here is the interactive map of the route we took.
The only city on this part of the tour we visited was the regional capital of Ragusa, another rebuilt city after the earthquake of 1693. A new town was built out of the rubble on a high plateau above the original settlement and aptly named Ragusa Superiore. But the toffs that had their palaces reduced to dust were having none of it and stayed put and built Ragusa Ibla on the original site. Italians being Italians lived in perfect disharmony within the ‘twin cities’ until 1927 when the two towns accepted each other and merged in to one happy urban sprawl. However, you do have to give it to the nobles as their inferior named Ibla is vastly superior to the inferior Superiore built by the inferior townsfolk of Superiore.
Ragusa is a town that welcomes tourists in general and Homies in particular with two designated parking spots at the base of Ibla. We bounded up the 100 or so steps and went straight in the open-for-once-in-Italy Tourist Information and picked up a map marked with routes and little crosses added to enable us to make the most out of our Montalbano Pilgrimage. Another doffing of the cap towards the tourist is the frequent and informative information points that support the use of QR codes to deliver the relevant information at a given point. This is also backed up by free city-wide WiFi. So none of those dull audio-guides your granny is fond of, here you get relevant multi-media delivered to your phone linked to the tour you are on. The best we have seen and all gratis.
The Excellent Information points
So armed with a map and a phone we followed the yellow route around the town taking in the grand churches and palazzi lining the twisting narrow streets interspersed with delightful piazzas. Standing high and proud in the centre is of course the Baroque Cathedral of St George that dominates the palm-planted Piazza del Duomo. We did manage to get suckered in by one of the many emporium selling the fine local produce to be found in these parts. I managed to part with €20 on six bars of chocolate and a tiny tub of olive oil, now that’s a balanced diet to shout about. Here are some pictures of our Montalbano tour: Name the Episodes.
His and Hers pieces of old Italian S………
Via Capitano Bocchieri
Duomo of St George Altarpiece
Flirting with the Pane Man
Crowds flock to the Piazza Duomo
Baroque Facade of St George
Piazza Bagno di Uccello
Corso XXV Aprile
Piazza Pola – this was the original Police Station
San Giuseppe Church – It has crazy bells
Ancient Gate of St George
The bottom of Corso roofs
The bottom of Corso pavement
In case we got lost
After a quick coffee and a sharing of an Arancini (rice ball) we caught the bus to the ‘other side’. A sinuous journey of never-ending tooting of horns, followed by extravagant arm waving and finally small Italian car reversing manoeuvres. And then all to be repeated at the next blind hairpin. The bus drops you off at the Piazza Liberta; a strange name for a square built by the fascists in the 1930’s. And I know it is probably not right but I do have a soft spot for the totalitarian state inspired modernist architecture of the period.
Is that an Eagle or Mr Mussolini in Piazza Liberta
The whole Square
The town planning here is the complete opposite to Ibla with the city set out on a strict grid system. It is clean, it is pleasant, it has some fine buildings, but it lacks soul and to be fair the main reason for visiting this part of Ragusa is to get the views to the lower town. But before we allow you to see those views we did find a couple of things to snap.
Duomo San Giovanni
Head in Cage
And now for the views:
Tracy wants the white house on the left
They love being packed in
So there ends our day in Ragusa and it is well worth it. It is the best of all the Baroque Cities of South East Sicily and should be on everyone’s agenda when visiting this wonderful island. We know you fans of Montalbano will now be shouting ‘You missed the Trattoria San Calogero, you dopes’. Well fans of the series we didn’t, in fact we put on our warmest clothing and strode out through the cold night air and eat in the goddam place. It is a rustic restaurant so do not expect anything too fancy, it is a cheerful, boisterous place that serves large portions of well-cooked home-style food. It was too cold to eat on the vine covered terrace and so we sat and ate in the inside where the walls have been signed by the stars of the series. Last point, in the real world it is called A Rusticana.
I look like I’m farting
The signed Wall
On the way back we stopped and took in the sights and smells of this vibrant foodie city and took our last few snaps. We hope you enjoyed our tour and we will be blogging back soon.
Love to all
St George again
St George on Acid