Il Supermago del Gelo

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Polignano a Mare is known all over Italy as the hometown of Domenico Modugno. It’s also a destination for thousands of tourists who are attracted by its splendid scenery. Apart from that Polignano is famous as the town of ice-cream, one of the most consumed products in the world. The ice-cream parlor excellence in Polignano is in the bar of Mario Campanella “Super Mago del Gelo”. It’s a legendary ice-cream parlor founded by Cavaliere Giuseppe Campanella. He started as an almond seller. In 1935 he walked from Conversano to Polignano where he decided to settle down. His only possession was a little carriage, but after coming up with idea to sell “le grattose” (flavoured grated ice), he was able to afford buying a little workroom. Under the management of his son Mario the workroom turned into the ice-cream parlor we know today. Mario had learnt about the secrets of the ice-cream trade since he was only 7 or 8 years old. Even though the master Mario Campanella, is not with us any longer, the bar at Piazza Garibaldi 22 has become the place to go for everyone who wants to taste, apart from the delicious ice-cream, also other specialities. Just some temptations on the long list are fresh fruit crushed-ice drink and Campanella’s exclusive special coffee made from whipped cream, coffee, lemon peel and sweet almond Super Mago liqueur. Mario Campanella, apart from being an excellent ice-cream maker, was also a loving husband and father. As proof some of his creations are named after his family members. The ice-cream cake Anastasia (dedicated to the older daughter) is made from whipped cream and coffee ice-cream. The ice-cream Maria Cristina served in a cup (named after the younger daughter), consist of whipped cream, coffee ice-cream and San Marzano liqueur. The ice-cream cup Tina is inspired by Mario Campanella’s wife. It’s loved by everyone who enjoys the extraordinary taste of whipped cream, chocolate, cocoa, hazelnuts and Super Mago special almond liqueur blended together. There is also another ice-cream cake called Mario Campanella. It’s made from whipped cream and chocolate ice-cream and dedicated to the master himself by his children. Moreover, we shouldn’t forget about the ice-cream cup Super Mago del Gelo. It’s based on whipped cream and coffee ice-cream, topped with sweet or bitter espresso. The cup Primavera consist of cream and vanilla ice-cream, topped with cherries and syrup. Anastasia, the older daughter, describes her father as the alchemist and genius of the communication. He never slept. Mario Campanella preferred to spend his nights thinking and trying to come up with brilliant new ideas. He was determined to succeed and he wanted his ice-cream to be remembered. There was a philosophy behind every single ice-cream cone. Also, the interior of the bar, the paintings, the photographs, the lights, the objects from all over the world, the aquarium full of colourful fishes, everythings was selected with a purpose. As a finishing touch, even the full bottles would be juggled into the air before being poured. During the many years of running the business with patience and determination Mario Campanella managed to find a balance between the various ingredients that bring to life countless flavours of the delicious ice-cream, which is still made using the traditional methods. The numerous photos on the walls of “Mario Campanella Super Mago del Gelo” prove the popularity of the bar. Many great actor and musicians, like Pippo Baudo, Gianni Morandi, Monica Vitti, Michele Placido and Lina Wertmuller, whenever visiting Polignano, never missed the chance to taste Campanella’s specialities. As the wife remember, even the legendary Domenico Modugno was at home at the ice-cream parlor during his visits to Polignano. For some time now, after a gap of several years, the legendary bar is back in the hands of the Campanella’s family. The wife Tina and the daughters Maria Cristina and Anastasia with her American-born husband Russell have promised to continue passing on “the sweet secrets” of the creative and unforgettable master Mario Campanella. Mrs Campanella often has a dream. This mysterious dream is believed to protect the bar. In her dream the bar is placed on the Hermit Rock in Polignano, where it’s very difficult o get to. And people who would like to taste their ice-cream, cross the sea by walking on water.