Alati-Caserta is the combination of the names of two pastry shops. Pasticceria Alati was located on Dante Street, across from the church of Our-Lady-of-la-Difesa. When its owners retired, in 1979, they sold it to the wife-husband team of Maria di Meo and Vittorio Calderone, who already owned Pasticceria Caserta on St-Viateur since 1968. The family business has now served Little Italy 7 days a week for 36 years, and people still rush in every day to enjoy the famous cannolis and sfogliatella, two Campanian delicacies.
Like all of Ciao Bella's characters, Maria Di Meo is of Campanian heritage. She arrived in Montreal in 1955, at the age of 9, grew up in Little Italy, and fell in love with Vittorio, who had himself followed in his brother's footsteps and immigrated to Canada, after working for a time in a pastry shop in Switzerland, where he had learned a smattering of French.
When time came to settle down, Maria borrowed money from her father and opened a pastry shop of their own, which they named Caserta in honor of the di Meo family's hometown. Marco Calderone, Maria and Vittorio's son, literally grew up in the shop, where he has worked nights, weekends and summers ever since. Forever. Of course, when Marco graduated from college with a management degree, he joined the family business full time. He now runs the company with his wife Linda, who greets customers at the cash register.