The History of La Bella Italia
Antonio and Luisa Cacace, recently married, made the decision to leave
the beautiful Amalfi Coast town of Massa Lubrense, in Italy. They chose
to move to New Zealand, looking for new opportunities and to honour the
Italian tradition of leaving the family business in the capable hands of his
younger brother and sister, and of course under the watchful eyes of their
extraordinarily hard working mother, Anna.
At first Antonio worked alongside his brothers-in-law, exploring various
roles in the local fishing industry. At this time he also recognised the desperate need for quality Italian products in New Zealand. He began La Bella Italia from a tiny premises in Berhampore, with two garages at the back for storage. From the beginning, Antonio noticed New Zealanders were ready to be challenged with new and exclusive products.
La Bella Italia moved to Petone. At first the business was mainly
wholesale, but gradually Antonio and Luisa also supplied retail goods and ran a café alongside. The new concept was born, importing exclusive, premium products from Italy, sold from a space where customers could
also choose to sit down for a meal. With their products and with their menus, the Cacaces strove to educate Kiwis about Italy’s wonderful food culture.
La Bella Italia became the first local business to introduce the New Zealand market to the delights of Prosciutto di Parma, Prosciutto di San Daniele, Bufala mozzarella and more, all sourced from their region of origin.
La Bella Italia went on to become a prominent food destination in Wellington, gathering widespread media interest and awards along the way.
As part of the La Bella Italia philosophy of educating New Zealanders
about Italian products and food culture, Antonio began his personally guided food tours throughout Italy. His aim was to share his passion and love for Italy and local knowledge with those who joined him. The tours
have always begun and ended by staying with Antonio’s family, back in home-town Massa Lubrense, at the family hotel and restaurant, La Primavera, where everything began.