Remembering Antonella and Il Passatore

Important updates below.

Albanian Translation

At first I didn’t know whether to call it Antonella’s or Antonella’s Il Passatore or just Il Passatore. It didn’t matter because everyone knew what you were talking about. It was one of the first restaurants to open in Prishtina after the war and it was run by Antonella who brought authentic Italian cooking to Prishtina.  Antonella Giorgioni came to Prishtina after first opening a small restaurant in Albania. She mostly served the Internationals who came after the fall of communism in Albania and then the war in Kosovo. This was the only restaurant that handmade their pasta and served only the freshest of ingredients. All of this was unique then and still is now.

Antonella +family

Antonella came from a poor family in Italy and then joined the Communist Party in Italy later moving to the feminist part of the Communist Party.  She told Oral History Kosovo: ” I was a young girl, but feminism represented many other struggles, it means abortion, divorce, independence, right to work, not always having a man as a boss, the possibility of having a career. This has been the story of feminism.”

Il Passatore

During the war Antonella-whilst still in Albania- took in a family from Prizren, “we had hosted a family of 15 from Prizren, practically two adults and the rest were children. So Kosovo. I know where they live, I may go to Kosovo.”  With the encouragement of the International community which was also moving to the new Missions in Kosovo, Antonella moved to Prishtina in 2000 and opened Il Passatore.

Antonella considered Prishtina and Kosovo her home after that. ” I no longer like to go back to Italy. I’m fine there for fifteen, twenty days, I don’t feel at home anymore it’s a completely different world…Children here call me Teta Antonella which means Aunt Antonella, the whole neighborhood knows me. What would I do in Italy?”This

Last year Antonella died of cancer and the beloved Il Passatore closed.

Il passatore INT.

In honor of Antonella and her work and beliefs, the Beergarden Pub in Prishtina will be holding a charity dinner on 12 February at 19.30. It will be a set menu featuring the her beloved ravioli dish-with spinach and cream or bolognese sauce cooked by her assistant chef and served by her former waiter Gzimi.

Antonella dancing

The proceeds will go to Operacioni i Mekëmbjes to support victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. This is a cause we know that Antonella would have been proud to support. Update: Tickets are 30 Euros and includes two drinks. You will need reservations now because of increased demand. Please call: 044450384.

Find out more about Antonella and Il Passatore here at Oral History Kosovo

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3 thoughts on “Remembering Antonella and Il Passatore

  1. Good food, a warm welcome and great company. She will be deservedly missed, as will her occasional Raki inspired humorous renditions of the Internationale, clustered around the cosy wood-burner on an icy cold Balkan night.

    Liked by 2 people

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