The Wizard, Mario Campanella

“We’re off to visit the wizard” he said as though it was a normal thing to do when in Italy. To say I had no idea what he was on about was an understatement. He repeated himself, adding “You know – the wizard”, eyes widening and head nodding. Nope, not a clue.

We pulled up outside and still I was none the wiser. “Zebra crossings and traffic lights are just for suggestion here in Italy” our guide yelled as we tried to cross the road. Safely on the other side of the street, we paused outside Bar Gelateria Mario Campanella.

Puglia, Italy, Polignano a Mare, Bar Gelateria, Mario Campanella

For a wizard of such astute, I find it surprising that you could quite easily walk past him. If you weren’t in on this secret insider knowledge, you’d have no idea of the magic and wonder going on in Polignano a Mare. His home is not grand and nor is it impressive. Just like him, it’s nothing eye catching.

Now that I’ve met the wizard, let me enlighten you.  The wizard of Italy is a funny man who lives in southern Italy, in Polignano a Mare. Said wizard is supported by some tall companions. They rush about, nodding and smiling, pleased with their concoctions.

Puglia, Italy, Polignano a Mare, Bar Gelateria, Mario Campanella

Those very concoctions are what the locals dream about. Italian coffee and generous gelato. Whilst the gelato is delicious, it is nothing in comparison to the one in Bari. The coffee on the other hand is definitely a magical creation.

I drink coffee every now and then, but I’m not really into it as much as some of my coffee fiend friends. I only tried the wizard’s coffee as I was being a polite English lady. How could I turn it down after hearing such hype? What did it matter that I didn’t really fancy one?

Puglia, Italy, Polignano a Mare, Bar Gelateria, Mario Campanella

Puglia, Italy, Polignano a Mare, Bar Gelateria, Mario Campanella

Lined up on the counter it looked like any other coffee you’d see. I was prepared to come out with some typical pleasantries when I was taken aback. As the hot liquid eased its way down my throat, I felt a caffeine hit. More than that though, I tasted Amaretto. A trusty favourite alcoholic spirit of mine, I immediately liked the drink. Weirdly, or at least to me, the coffee also had lemon rind in it. It was strangely refreshing and warming at the same, with the combination of ingredients going surprisingly well together.

Puglia, Italy, Polignano a Mare, Bar Gelateria, Mario Campanella

Well, I bowed down to the great wizard and paid my compliments. Credit where credit is due and all that. The small café may not look much, but it certainly casts a good spell or two. If you’re visiting Polignano a Mare, make sure you pop in and see the great man for yourself. X

Puglia, Italy, Polignano a Mare, Bar Gelateria, Mario Campanella

Have you ever been surprised by a café or restaurant on your travels? Where serves the best coffee? 

#SundayServed is all about worldly food and drink. Join me every Sunday for a slice of deliciousness around the globe. If you’ve got a good recipe or recommendation get in touch. 

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