The Humble Beginnings of Bar Gelateria Ercole

We love Pizzo, and recommend it to all our clients planning to visit Calabria. There are a few things you absolutely must do when you visit Pizzo and indulging in the traditional Tartufo is one of them.

There is no shortage of cafés and restaurants listing tartufo on the menu, but we absolutely love Bar Gelateria Ercole located in the main square of Pizzo – Piazza della Repubblica. This café not only has the best Tartufo in Pizzo, it also has a very humble and inspiring history.

Brothers Antonio and Gaetano Di Iorgi didn’t have a family business that they would inherit to secure their future. Instead they worked anywhere they could to save money in hopes of investing into a place of their own.

In the heart of Pizzo was a small cafe known as ‘u Venezianu. It had a bar area, a game room and a small preparation area for ice cream. There was nothing particularly welcoming or unique about this bar, but the brothers decided to take over the establishment and that is when Bar Gelateria Ercole was born.

It was the 1960s and this small café was nothing more than that, but it was on it’s way to becoming famed for offering the internationally famous and delicious treat that Pizzo is now known for – the Tartufo di Pizzo.

This is mainly because, Gaetano, from a very young age, had worked with many pastry chefs and ice-cream makers both locally and throughout Italy. His skills became a great asset to his new investment. With a strong work ethic, welcoming nature and a passion for offering the best quality products, the small café became more and more popular. In the 1980s and 90s the fame of the café and its tartufo boomed and the company grew.

Today, the Bar Gelateria Ercole is over 50 years old and is managed by Gaetano’s son, Franco, continuing the family tradition that brothers Antonio and Gaetano had initially dreamed about.

When in Pizzo, you must stop into Bar Gelateria Ercole. You will not only taste the best, in our humble opinion, tartufo in Pizzo, you will also feel the pride and tradition of this local shop.

This story first appeared in our May 2017 Newsletter. If you are interested in learning more about Calabria and southern Italy and having first access to stories like this plus exclusive content, discounts or special offers available only to subscribers, subscribe to the My Bella Vita “Questo Mese” monthly newsletter!

Image credits: Salvo (Grazie mille!)