South Africa: Venezia Revisited - Cape Town's First Gelato Gets a Reboot


The grandson of the Italian immigrant who opened Venezia in Sea Point in 1953 has been making his grandfather's ice cream for family and friends. Now the rest of Cape Town might be getting a taste of it again too.

The author supports SA Harvest which uses refrigerated vehicles to rescue and redistribute surplus food that would otherwise go to waste.

When Gilda del Mistro relocated to South Africa before World War II, she noticed there were no ice cream shops in Cape Town. Her brother-in-law, Aldo Stefanutto, had an ice cream shop in the Italian city of Pescara. But when Pescara became the target of repeated bombings during the war, Aldo and his wife Onorina took their children and fled to northeast Italy. Some time after the war ended, they decided to leave Italy for South Africa.

In 1953, after fulfilling a mandatory work immigration requirement in his trade of terrazzo, Aldo opened Venezia on the Main Road in Sea Point, then and now a mixed-use neighbourhood on the Atlantic seaboard of Cape Town. The restaurant had nine tables and jukeboxes. The centrepiece was a life-size gondola - the arcs of which served as coffee and ice cream counters...

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