Tributes paid to ‘genius’ boss of iconic Visocchi’s Italian cafe in Dundee

Marco Caira Snr, who ran the Visocchi’s cafe, pictured in his younger years.

Tributes have been paid to a much-loved cafe owner dubbed Dundee’s “Willy Wonka” of ice cream.

Marco Caira Snr died aged 68 after suffering multiple organ failure brought on by diabetes.

Alongside wife Antonia, he spent decades running Visocchi’s in Broughty Ferry, turning the former greasy spoon into a local favourite.

Tributes were led by his family, with son Marco Jnr describing his dad as a “genius”.

Marco and wife Antonia

Born in October 1949, Marco Snr was raised in Lochee and attended almost every Catholic primary school in the area before moving on to Grove Academy.

Visocchi’s was opened in 1954 by Marco’s father and uncle, following a similar venture in Kirriemuir.

In 1975, Marco began his ice-cream innovation, producing more than 900 flavours which would even suit vegans and diabetics.

His health deteriorated after suffering two heart attacks in 2004. He died on Tuesday, November 28.

Marco Jnr, 31, said: “He was completely selfless, he did everything for everyone and nothing for himself.

“He gave us every opportunity he never had. My dad wasn’t just a gentleman, he was a gentle man.”

Antonia and Marco Jnr outside the cafe in happier times.

Social media was flooded with tributes following his death with many sharing memories of enjoying a hot blackcurrant in the cafe.

Marco Jnr added: “He never had any enemies, he didn’t have to be macho.

“He loved all animals too — my dad was like Dr Doolittle at times because he would talk to them! What people might not know is that he had a massive IQ.

“He was offered a scholarship from the London School of Economics. He was a genius, not just with his IQ, but with some of the ideas he had for the business and his innovations.”

Marco Snr was also well-known for his love of Star Trek, Alfa Romeo cars and donating to charitable causes. Marco Jnr’s brother Roberto, 26, added: “My dad was like Willy Wonka in the ice cream factory. We didn’t have to learn anything — we just picked it up from him.”

Marco Snr’s funeral was held today at St Bride’s Church in Monifieth moving on to Pitkerro Grove Cemetery.