Andrea Marcolongo

Sarajevo is the only city I've come back to!

When Italian writer Andrea Marcolongo first visited Sarajevo in 2014 while traveling around the Balkans with her best girlfriend, she had a feeling that she would soon be moving to this city and writing books about it.


As a girl, she listened to stories about the Siege of Sarajevo, and it seemed odd to her that BiH was so close to Italy, but was still totally unknown to most Italians.

- When I decided to move here in 2015, I explained to my father that BiH was on the other side of the Adriatic. I never go anywhere twice and Sarajevo is the only city I’ve come back to.

 The Brilliant Language

Her wish is for people from all over the world to come to know Sarajevo, so she often writes about it for the Italian newspapers, Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica.

It was here that Andrea found inspiration for her book, The Brilliant Language, an international bestseller.  

- I wrote most of the book here in Sarajevo during the spring of 2016. I would take a morning walk to Sova Cafe in Marijin Dvor or to Kod Bibana, where I would work while taking in a fantastic view of the city.

She has learned to cook Bosnian dishes, including her favorite, bey’s stew, which she first tried at Aeroplan.

- I really love burek from Baščaršija and stuffed peppers, and my favorite restaurants are Mala Kuhinja and Bon Appetit.

Andrea also likes good Herzegovinian wines, Blatina and Žilavka, as well as domestic brandy.

- Ice Cocktail and Snack Bar makes the best cocktails in town, and I like Sarajevsko Pivo so much that I got their logo tattooed on my hand.

She stayed in Bjelave during her first visit; she fell in love with the mahala, and it’s where she lives today.

- My wonderful neighborhood comes to my aid whenever I have a problem. We get together regularly, especially during Ramadan, when I go to their places for tasty iftars and the famous baklava.

Andrea likes Danis Tanović’s films and often goes with friends to Meeting Point, FK Sarajevo matches and, when she has the chance, concerts by Zabranjeno Pušenje and Skroz.

- I go to the National Theater regularly and to Gazi Husrev Bey’s Library, the National Museum and Ars Aevi, which have amazing items that not many people know about. Sarajevo is brimming with various influences, it is a true Europe in miniature.

Ministry of Ćeif

Andrea’s favorite place in Baščaršija is the cafe, Ministry of Ćeif (Kovači St.), where she enjoys cakes and salep. She says hand-made items from Bazerdžan and the photo monograph, Sarajevo – My City, a Place to Meet, make perfect gifts.

Before coming here she thought she couldn’t live without the sea, but now she can’t live without greenery and mountains, like Jahorina, where she stood on skis for the first time.

- Friends who have visited me later miss this nature, the hospitality and the terrific people they have met. Sarajevans are my people, my gang.