Italian Who Fell in Love With Šibenik Rates City, Dalmatian Girls and Pizza

By 16 March 2019

As Slobodna Dalmacija/Marija Loncar writes on the 13th of March, 2019, when he first came to Šibenik at the end of 2017 to volunteer at the Youth in the EU, 30-year-old Francesco Lombardi from a town near Naples had no idea he'd experience love at first sight upon arrival.

He had never been to Šibenik before and as he says himself, if someone had told him that after completing his eight-month volunteer job he'd want to stay here and get a job - he wouldn't have believed them.

Such is life, and that's exactly what happened, as Francesco said though a smile, he ''clicked'' with Šibenik at first sight. In addition, Dalmatian, therefore local Sibenik girls, he adds, are the most beautiful girls in Europe.

"Maybe I liked the city because of the sea, because my hometown is near the sea. The nature is beautiful, the old part of town is one of the most beautiful in Dalmatia. Moreover, with its beauty, Šibenik can easily stand alongside many cities in the world. Šibenik is a real little paradise!'' says the young Italian.

Francesco completed his studies in political science in Naples. After graduating, he volunteered, wrote music reviews, visited festivals and did interviews with musicians for local newspapers. He's interested in civic initiatives, and at one time formed an association with friends, wanting to further activate the citizens of Naples in solving their problems.

In Šibenik, Francesco, together with a fellow Romanian volunteer, first worked on the "Development in society" project, which was later selected by the Agency for Mobility and EU Programs as one of the examples of good practice of youth work and for young people, he'll travel to Brussels to present the project should he receive a positive decision on it from Zagreb in the coming days.

After completing that volunteer work, he remained in Šibenik and got hired by the Youth in the EU association and now, with a group of young people from Italy, Poland and Portugal, he's dealing with the issues of the future of the European Union and the importance of voting in the elections, ie the question - do we want to be citizens of the EU or just citizens in the EU - explains Francesco.

The project will be presented to all participants on the April the 16th in Šibenik, and Francesco's paid internship will be completed along with the project at the end of May. When that's done, will he seek a new job and stay in Šibenik? He still isn't sure.

''I feel very good here. Will I be here for amother five months or until the end of my life? I don't know. At the moment, I'm enjoying it as much as I can, because here, I do what I love and what I've been educated to do,'' he says.

In his leisure time, he loves to listen to music, he also loves sport. He used to play football, basketball, tennis, water skiing, but in Šibenik his hobbies are mainly music and movies.

''I miss having a cinema in town. If we want to watch movies, we need to go to Dalmare, and not all young people here have cars, so it's not really that easy for everyone. In the city I watched some movies organised by Kinoklub Šibenik. It's an interesting initiative,'' he says.

Although he's been living in Šibenik for almost a year and a half, Francesco admits that he doesn't understand Croatian as well as he'd like to, and part of the guilt for that he says, is shared by Šibenik's locals themselves.

''First if all Croatian is really difficult, and part of the guilt lies with me because I haven't been trying hard enough, but part of the guilt is in the hands of Šibenik's locals because they all speak good English. Not just young people but older people as well. They also speak Italian, but when I go to small shops and bakeries I always speak Croatian.

When I go out or to some cafe and when I meet up with people, it's always in Croatian. People tell me I speak well. Here young people speak great English. In all the countries of former Yugoslavia, in Albania... I travelled a lot of Europe and saw that people in all Slavic countries speak English well, but in Croatia it really stands out.

Although, as Francesco states, Šibenik locals are rather temperamental, just like his compatriots, they are slightly distant when it comes to making contact with new people. It's not easy to knock down this wall, but when it comes down to it, their friendship is deep and guaranteed.

''The coffee is very good here. But in Italy, when you order coffee, they know what you mean, and here there's a list of all different types: short, long, large, small macchiato, coffee with milk... In Italy coffee is a quick drink, and here if you order a coffee you know it will take you two hours... Drinking and talking... Pomalo (taking it easy),''

Somehow Francesco also managed to get used to some local pizzas, though, as he himself says, they have nothing on Italian pizzas. First of all because of the mozzarella, a cheese that his hometown is known for and without which there can be no real pizza.

''It's like going to Naples for a burek,'' laughs the Italian, who appears to have no plans to leave this stunning Dalmatian city any time soon.

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Click here for the original article by Marija Loncar for Slobodna Dalmacija