Our Story

WHO IS ANTONIO CACACE?

Antonio is a man who has made his love and passion for Italy, his business, his life and his greatest venture in New Zealand.

He was born in Massalubrense, on the Amalfi Coast, Italy in 1962, where his family owns La Primavera Hotel. He grew up immersed in the hospitality industry where his father, Luigi, was a widely respected Michelin chef.

Antonio met Luisa, a Kiwi of Italian descent who would travel to the Amalfi coast to visit her extended family in Massalubrense. After few years they got married and decided to move to Wellington.

Antonio’s passion and knowledge for Italian products and cuisine and enthusiasm to travel the country to find the very best available products throughout Italy, began at a very young age. He would accompany his father as they set out to ensure they provided their customers with the very best dining experiences.
Antonio learned the secrets of the Italian Cuisine from his father. This is primarily based on choosing quality, fresh simple ingredients, and combining them according to the best local Italian traditions.

From his mother, Anna and his father, Antonio learned the value of hard work, and continuously seeking innovation and new opportunities.
It was with this spirit he embarked upon his New Zealand adventure. For him this was an unknown land, and upon arrival he discovered Italy’s products and traditions were unknown to New Zealand.

Accordingly he set about doing something to remedy this situation and in 1996
The adventure of importing products from Italy began.

It was the beginning of La Bella Italia Distributors along with the innovative all under one roof concept; La Bella Italia Café, Restaurant, Retail and Deli which started operating in 2000.

La Bella Italia quickly established itself as a destination; a place where people in the Wellington region and beyond travel to, a place not to be missed by visitors.

In 2007 Antonio started to take Tours to Italy. This was another opportunity for him to introduce New Zealanders to the wide, rich traditions and cultures throughout Italy. Tours now take place once a year and are always a wonderful experience for participants.

Antonio Cacace’s effort to promote Italian Products and to spread and make known the Italian Culture was recognised by the Italian Government, when he received the Cavaliere Order of Merit, on the 6th of December 2007. This is a huge honour and can be likened to receiving a knighthood from the Queen.

The reasons for the cavalierato were:
• For his commitment to both the commercial and cultural fields
• For having brought the Italian Art of food to the attention of a broad sector of the public
• For having contributed to the affirmation of ‘Made in Italy’ in New Zealand
• For having promoted numerous initiatives aimed at fostering our country’s history, traditions and culture.

WHAT ARE WE?
La Bella Italia is a Restaurant, Pizzeria, Deli, Retail and Wholesale business.

The owner and founder, Antonio Cacace’s dream has always been to share with New Zealanders the best traditions and culture from his Native country.
From the beginning to present day, Antonio imports some of the finest Italian cured meats, cheeses, pasta, sauces, Extra Virgin Olive Oils, Limoncello and more.

Every year he runs tours to Italy to allow Kiwis to discover the country he loves first hand.

The dishes served at La Bella Italia are authentically Italian based on traditional recipes from various regions across his land.

La Bella Italia offers hands on classes to both adults and children to learn how to make pasta, gnocchi and ravioli.

It holds demonstration dinners to present the variety within the ‘Dieta Mediterranea’.

La Bella Italia has become a popular destination, which is widely recognised as one of the most authentic Italian restaurants in New Zealand.

In 2018 La Bella Italia was awarded amongst the 70 best Restaurants with Pizzeria in the World and received the Ospitalità Italiana quality approved seal.