VISITORS to Barry Island can have a new Italian-flavoured ice-cream dining experience following the opening of Zio’s gelateria.

Tino and Mariana Zeraschi, 35, have joined forces to open Zio’s – uncle in Italian – in the former Beachcomber gift shop, in the Western Shelter.

Mr Zeraschi, 61, who also manages Marco’s in the Park, in Porthkerry Park, Barry, said setting up the Italy-inspired parlour had been a life’s ambition and a celebration of his family’s heritage.

His father Francesco Zeraschi started serving ice-cream in Penrhiwceiber, in Rhondda Cynon Taff, in 1927 and the Zeraschi family is marking 60 years on Barry Island presence; having opened the Piccolo Bar in 1958.

Mr Zeraschi said he had been inspired by his many visits to Italy and visits to Hereford, in England, where a gelateria - simply a shop that sells ice cream or gelato - was established.

He said: “I used to go up there regularly. A gelateria is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but you need the space to do it.”

The Beachcomber premises became available when owner Jackie Harries decided to retire.

The gelateria features a menu boasting homemade ice-cream with new flavours promising to join the 30-strong collection each month.

Sorbets, suitable for vegans, include kiwi, lemon, and mango with raspberry are proving the biggest wow. Welsh cake flavour has been on sale and Mr Zeraschi hopes to make a Bailey’s ice-cream.

Customers wanting to be eco-friendly can have scoops in waffle baskets rather than tubs.

Mr Zeraschi said: “It makes me happy when I see smiling customers. I get a kick out of it. It’s different for Barry Island and I hope it will encourage people to come here.”

Customer, Martine Tulloch, 39, of Penarth, said: “It’s the best ice-cream I’ve ever had – it’s gorgeous. Proper homemade and I love the baskets. I’ll be going through all of them.”