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After relocating from Torino to Tirana years ago, Anna Giulia Buonanno is an Italian who has by now settled in her new life in Albania, where she teaches Italian language and culture in some of the most important academic institutions in the country.
I really like the area around arTurbina: there is ample space for pedestrians and the bars that have opened around here are welcoming and peaceful, the two main elements that, for me, are essential to any bar or café.
(What is the name of that skyscraper across from the Orthodox Cathedral? That one!)
It’s not the most beautiful building in town, on the contrary, but it is often the first one I spot from the airplane as it approaches Tirana; this is the reason I prefer it, but also because it is easily visible when you walk or drive around the city center. I think it has become a sort of symbol of this city exactly as it is, unfinished.
The Artifical Lake Dam, which divides the city from the tranquil green space of the park.
Bufe, especially for breakfast or brunch. The open veranda and the two interior rooms are warm and aesthetically pleasing, the staff is very friendly and the quality of the food is pretty great.
Cheese-stuffed peppers (speca me gjizë) is one of the most delicious and tastiest dishes that I have ever tried. There are plenty of restaurants that make them very well and I always prefer them grilled.
Birra Puka at Bar Si Dielli, in the New Bazaar neighborhood. My favorite areas in town are the ones where you can walk around freely.
The Italian Institute of Culture at Skanderbeg Square. Among the library books, the weekly Kino club and the many cultural events, this place has become, for me, the ideal meeting point between Italy, my birth country, and Albania, my adopted home.
From a gastronomical viewpoint, it has to be the ice-cream at La Nioccola on my way back home, before dinner. But, if we were to speak in general terms, browsing the small boutiques of antiques and souvenirs is also something I love doing. There, you can find small treasures of daily life from the past, war relics from various countries, and suddenly the frantic rhythm of the city seems to slow down.
Pizzeria Saporita. Their pizzas are not exactly a nod to Italian tradition as much as to the specific desire of trying new and unexpected taste combinations.
Friend’s Book House (which serves very nice raki) or, in the summer, the terrace at the Palace of Culture…especially the evenings of the open-air cinema.
If you want to read more from Anna Giulia you may follow her blog: datorinoatirana.wordpress.com.
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