Santini At Home

Our History

Our History


More than 60 years ago, Attilio Santini, perhaps not fully realizing the importance of his undertaking, opened the doors to what is now, without a shadow of a doubt, the most famous ice cream parlour in Portugal. Having served his first client and the first scoop of what was quickly recognized as the “the best ice cream in the world”, Attilio Santini launched what is now considered a tradition: going for a Santini!


Attilio Santini was a symbol of work, entrepreneurship and skill.

But also a man that, owing to his sophistication, affability and constant pursuit of moving onwards and upwards, became an example of dedication and hard work that, even to this day, is fondly recalled by all those that knew him. Due to his ever present kindness he remained friends with those that were just children when they began to taste his cream in Tamariz, some of whom went onto became major national or international figures.

It was no strange sight to see this most modest and unpretentious of men conversing with ministers, members of the diplomatic corps, important public figures, nobility, and even with members of various royal families.

he King and Queen of Spain treated Santini with the utmost kindness and affection, even sitting at his table for a “friendly chat”

It was the same with Princess Margarita, who Santini not had only a great friendship with but also a lot of admiration.

Clearly it was not just his great tasting ice cream that explains Santini’s personal relationship with the King of Spain, who he knew from a very young age and even called “Juanito”. Members of the royal family, who for many years lived in the region of Estoril near Lisbon, were always treated by Santini with the polite respect that they deserved and the natural and charming modesty for which he was known. It won him not only the King’s friendship but also his children’s, as was the case with Juan Carlos, the current King of Spain, and his sister Princess Margarita.
Santini was a character whose name lives on and an example of loyalty to both his family and his friends. He gave without thinking about receiving, he was respectful out of duty and never out of obligation, and he was always the same old Santini: cheerful, generous, friendly and courteous. He was never submissive and had a strong personality based on natural kindness and a solid moral and religious upbringing.


“Va bene?” was what Mr. Santini would ask his customers as he passed through his store

 before continuing his jokes, making old and young alike roar with laughter. At the end he would say:
- No need to tip!

Such was the man that each generation got used to seeing and respecting, whether it was for his integrity and modesty or his kindness and high spirits. He took pride in what his father told him one day:
- Son, always be honest.
He achieved this by paying the doctor’s fees for whoever was sick, the costs of a first rate funeral for whoever passed away and above the entrance of the storeroom were the following words: “Entry allowed”. The success of his business gave him the reputation of being rich, something he would constantly joke about: on Mondays he closed in order to eat lobster, whereas he would invite the most gullible to see the famous Santinia yacht in the bay which, in the 1960s, was rumored to have been bought by Santini himself. Contrary to all of these rumors of luxury, he was a good-natured man that supported local social organizations and who even gave away free ice creams to children on his daughter’s birthday.

The Future

Six decades after opening its first store, the “Santini brand” is strong and healthy, possessing a growth potential that experts consider “extremely significant” which will enable the “Santini spirit” to reach new markets.

We want to grow and we will, but step by step, without “running before we have learned to walk”. We will do it in a gradual and sustainable way, without rushing, and with the calmness of those who have inherited a special way of seeing life while always maintaining our famous quality.
For us, Santini is more than just a store, a brand or an ice cream - it is a cause. A cause that involves everyone – co-workers, managers and, above all, our customers who, over the course of six decades, have contributed (magnificently!) to making our parlour an enduring feature of Cascais and a symbol of quality and dedication.



"They say that the recipe for Santini ice cream is one of Portugal’s best kept secrets. But what caused its reputation and success is no secret at all: their emphasis on quality."

President of Portugal Pr. Aníbal Cavaco Silva


"I was born 4 years before Mr. Santini came to Portugal and since then I have been enjoying the best ice cream in the world, made and served by a charming family and friendly staff."

Dr. António Capucho, Ex-President of Cascais Municipal Assembly


"It was 60 years ago during the summertime that Santini gave us the delight of tasting the coolness of his ice cream (strawberry and cream) and that unique experience of the whole world stopping for a moment."

Humberto Coelho


"- One scoop of strawberry or two?
- Just one today ($)!!!!
But sometimes the generous Attilio Santini would give me two leaving me happy and with my ego intact, pleased about my freebie and the charm and friendliness that the renowned Mr. Santini had shown me."

João Lagos


"The Santini family have always enjoyed following the tradition of making quality ice cream. Long live Santini ice cream!"

Marcel de Botton


"In November every year I order ice cream for my birthday, Christmas and New Year’s. In the summer I travel to the Algarve with boxes of Santini ice cream."

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa


"After 17 years of globe-trotting, the memory of Santini ice cream was one of the things that contributed to our decision to return home."

Ricardo Espírito Santo


"I am lucky to travel the world and I have yet to find any ice cream that compares to Santini! Don’t lose the recipe, keep using the best techniques and keep offering fantastic ice cream. Everyone will be a winner!"

Tomás Morais