To many of you that have visited The Caprese, you will have already had the pleasure of meeting Costanzo! If you haven’t, then it is safe to say that if you were to venture in, he wouldn’t be the wallflower sitting in the corner, we are sure of that!
Costanzo is the owner of Ristorante Caprese, he is also the chef, the entertainment, the one who goes to the fruit market first thing in the morning, the list goes on, he’s a very busy man!
Costanzo originally comes from Capri in Southern Italy, a little island just off the Amalfi Coast. Having met a girl from Glasgow, they decided to get married and move to Scotland in 1971. In Costanzo’s own words “I was only meant to be coming for 3 weeks!”, 40 years later he is still here! He left Capri with just £5.00 in his pocket and spoke very little English. Shell-shocked at the difference between the beautiful island he had just left and the busy, noisy city where the people spoke in such a strange language, he found it difficult to settle in but nevertheless, stayed. Costanzo will often tell customers about his first house in Glasgow with it outside toilet and a giant key for the door, oh the deprivation! He brought 3 beautiful girls into the world, Ilia, Lidia and Dania and proceeded to work his way up the ladder, taking any job he could to provide for his children. He managed several restaurants in the city and when the opportunity came his way for him to have his own place, he jumped at the chance. This was a huge risk where had he failed, he would have lost everything but he put in the hours, day and night, to build The Caprese to what it is today.
Although living in Glasgow, Capri will always be home. He regularly visits several times a year to catch up with his brothers and sisters who still live on the island where he relaxes by going fishing, swimming every day and meeting up with his old friends. Rarely venturing out to restaurants, he much prefers to spend his time relaxing at home, preparing huge feasts for family and friends with an endless supply of good wine! He does enjoy a good, traditional Napolitano pizza though so we have to tear ourselves away from the house and head up to the main square of Capri where we can find the best pizza on the island.
Back in Glasgow, Costanzo can be found at the restaurant 6 days and nights a week. He never takes a night off even when we try to force him out the door! He loves chatting to the customers, complimenting the women whilst saying how ugly their husbands are, I mean, where else do you get that kind of unique treatment, first class! His customers know him well though and know that it is all done in jest, thankfully!
Now for some useless facts you may or may not know about Costanzo. Costanzo has 5 grandchildren, 2 girls and 3 boys whom he is passionate about and he loves having them all over for dinner, even though they run rings around him. Costanzo’s birthday is 19th August which makes him a Leo. Costanzo has been in 2 films! The first when he was a boy was called “It Started in Naples” and starred Sophia Loren and Clark Gable which was filmed and set in Capri. The second film was the follow up to Gregory’s Girl, called Gregory’s 2 Girls in which he played an Italian waiter (wouldn’t you know!) and he actually had a speaking part in this! It didn’t win any Oscars sadly, so his acceptance speech was never heard. Before you all think that he is out there auditioning for parts hoping to be the next Steven Seagal, the director Bill Forsyth was a customer along with John Gordon Sinclair the actor and they asked if he would play a part in the film. Funnily enough, we have always said he was born to be on the stage, that is his true calling! Two days of filming for just 5 minutes of dialogue in the glamorous location of Greenock, just outside of Glasgow, such is the exciting life of a “luvvie”! Costanzo’s favourite car is a Ferrari of course and he follows Formula 1 religiously every Sunday when the racing season starts. Costanzo’s favourite sport is football and he is a big fan of Napoli and of course his national team, Italia. His ideal Sunday is spent watching Italian football and the grand prix after Sunday lunch. He has a passion for wild mushrooms and he likes nothing better than getting up at the crack of dawn to go off searching in the wilderness for Porcini and Chanterelle mushrooms. This can often be a race against time when he spots another Funghi hunter on his patch which ensues in a high-speed race for the biggest and best ones, mushrooms at dawn! He loves good wine with dinner and likes to have a nice malt whisky occasionally or a refreshing Gin & Tonic in the summer. Costanzo’s favourite saying is “I was born to suffer”, usually uttered when he is surrounded by beautiful women! Costanzo is an excellent swimmer and swims a couple of miles a day when in Capri. Costanzo served time in the military as part of his National Service in Italy but never seen any action thankfully! Originally only supposed to serve 16 months, this was extended to 2 years due to his frequent AWOL incidents, why doesn’t that surprise us! To this day, he feels that this was the making of him and that if more young people were to experience the discipline that the army gives you, we wouldn’t have so many problems with youth delinquency.
So there we have a brief biography of Costanzo’s life. He is a showman, a real character, charismatic, with a wicked sense of humour and a big heart. Hope you enjoy reading about Costanzo and more family members to follow soon!