Asked if she had seen Brad Pitt, the waitress in the Fafarinka cafe just looked at me as if I was crazy.
“A man told me Pitt, the actor, had been here, have you seen him?” I continued, waiting for the waitress to put my ice cream on the table, and to stop staring at me as if I had been out in the sun too long.”
“He’s disappeared, has he been here, to Šibenik?”
Still looking amazed, the waitress responded, “I like him, he is an interesting person, but nothing special. He is blond, I don’t like this kind of man. I prefer black-haired ones, tall with muscles. They are very seductive.”
What a revelatory moment! Now this woman’s deepest love life secrets were being revealed to me. She started to laugh, but I was no closer to solving the mystery.
After Brad Pitt had visited the Croatian coastal city of Šibenik a few years ago, the rumors and speculation swirled. TV reports. Newspaper stories. Everyone was abuzz here and in the neighboring beach towns.
Brad Pitt, the winner of last year’s Oscar for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, was considering investing in a beachfront, 800 million Euros tourist-residential complex that would transform the outskirts of Šibenik.
The area was divine, a rather undiscovered retreat known as the “gateway to the Kornati islands”—a place for discovering Adriatic lobsters, fine wines, and secret coves with crystal white sand.
But Pitt was not just scouting lovely and secluded area beaches like Tijat, Zmajan, and Žirje where swimming with the fishes in the transparent sea is bewitching—or savoring the homemade chocolate ice cream with hazelnuts at Fafarinka.
According to the gossip, unproven stories circulating among the townspeople, Pitt wasn’t just thinking about real estate. It was rumored that he had fallen under the spell of a Croatian beauty.
“Yes Pitt was here, it was interesting because of the rumors, that he had found a real secret gem in Šibenik, real secret,” laughs Fabijano Baranović, the manager at the luxurious King Krešimir Heritage Hotel.
Handing me a menu and insisting, “We make special dishes from black pigs in Lika, pig medallions, prosciutto, and sausages are our specialties.” A true pig lover, he finally adds, “gossip, gossip, we made fun of discussing Pitt’s feelings.”
But despite Baranović’s ardent passion for pig sausages, the mystery still lingered—where was the elusive actor? Could he be at the Michelin-starred Pelegrini restaurant famed for its’ lamb and veal dishes? Or would he be found admiring the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Gothic cathedral, or just strolling through Šibenik’s charming winding streets?
Not finding any clues, I headed to Zablaće, a seemingly-endless white beach about 5 km. from Sibenik. Dotted with stunning villas, it is just the storybook type of escape mega-investors could be attracted to.
“Have you seen Brad Pitt here?” I asked a swimmer. “You know, the actor, the blond in Ocean’s Eleven with George Clooney?”
“Brad Pitt? No, I didn’t see him.”
“That’s a pity,” I sympathized. “He might be interested in talking to you. Maybe you could tell him where to find an authentic locally-prepared Šibenik lunch.”
“HaHa, meet me? He’s a big movie star. He likes the best restaurants, not meals in my simple home.”
I moved on. Maybe I could find another sunbather who had seen this very socially-conscious Hollywood heartthrob.
Only receiving some more astonished looks, I returned to Šibenik, questioning my detective skills.
To boost my spirits, I stopped at Koka, a clothing shop near the famed St. Jakov cathedral.
After admiring the dresses, I had to ask, “Have you seen Brad Pitt? A woman told me that he had been here. That he bought a dress here.”
The owner looked confused, and gave me another of those unsettling looks that suggested I was mad. I feigned a smile, but before I left, a well-dressed woman looked straight at me, and said, “Of course I saw him. I came here to buy a lovely dress just for him.”
“What?” I could only mutter.
“That’s right. I must look beautiful!He’s at my home now. I am going to make lunch for him, shrimp and mussels.”
It was now my turn to be dumbfounded. Speechless for a few seconds, I finally summoned the courage to ask, “And what will the side dish be?”
Typical of the welcome awaiting visitors to Šibenik, the woman quickly laughed.
“Me! What do you think? Me!”
Thanks a lot for collaboration and photos to:
Tourist Board Šibenik, Heritage Hotel King Krešimir, Koka Boutique,
Pelegrini Restaurant, Farfarinka Cafe, Ms. Jasenka Ramljak, Ms. Brankica Dominis Mišić
Written by Anita Palada, Edward Kiersh