Silvano Vitiello (age 39), born in Sardinia, flew to Belgrade nine years ago, and decided to stay in the capital together with his wife.
In this country, which “the natives” have been running away from for decades, this engaging Italian took a big bite, and still savours the good taste, figuratively speaking. Here, he fused three of his biggest loves – his wife Ana, car racing and photography.
– In Italy, I worked on organizing WRC rallies. Also, once I was a competitive driver, and once a co-driver. Later on, I worked as a racing referee while, at the same time, I was completing my photography studies in Rome. In 2004, in a small town 90km from my home town of Olbia, Sardinia, I met Ana who came with the Sremska Kamenica Folklore Troupe as an interpreter. We began dating and since she did not want to leave Belgrade, I moved here in 2008. I even left the seaside for her – Silvano laughs.
His first encounter with Belgrade’s hot tarmac is something he will remember forever.
-I was surprised to see just how big the city was. I did not expect this although, during my student years, I lived in Rome. I arrived on a plane, and despite not owning a car, I noticed that drivers here didn’t pay any attention to yellow lines on the road, and that traffic jams were huge. On the other hand, I was struck by the hospitality and friendliness of everyone I met, be it in the street, or in a shop, a bar or a restaurant – he adds.
For several years he lived between Italy and Serbia until he made a decision to definitely move to the Balkan Peninsula.
-I started photographing car racing and carting all over Serbia, and I report about them for Italian magazines and websites. I also have a Facebook page and a YouTube channel called ‘Auto e Motori in Serbia’ on which I post my work. Also, I comment Formula 1 races for Italian media – Silvano explains and adds that there is no comparison between Italian and Serbian moto-racing because, for instance, in Sardinia alone, there are ten annual races more than in Serbia.
Silvano is also gearing up to implement another project in the following few months.
-My wife and I want to promote Serbian tourism in Italy. Nobody has ever done that. I travelled across Serbia and I was struck by the beauty of your mountains, particularly Tara and Divcibare. Kopaonik and Zlatibor, on the other hand, with all of their night clubs and bars, are too urban for me. In Belgrade, I like Knez Mihailova Street, Kalemegdan and your very own ‘sea’, Ada Ciganlija the most. Also, you have fantastic spas and historical attractions – Silvano says.
The challenge for this particular project is to let his countrymen know about the ancient trails here, in Serbia.
-When I tell my friends where I live, they ask me where that is. Some identify Serbia with ex-Yugoslavia. When I tell them that 17 Roman emperors were born in Serbia, they think I am nuts. However, whenever I bring an Italian here, they are thrilled. Hence, I think this project will be successful particularly when you bear in mind that I have contacts all over Italy – Silvano concludes.
This post is also available in: Italiano