Worker Bee: Meet Maurizio Cecco, the founder of Salvi’s and Festa Italiana

Maurizio moved to Manchester from Naples over 30 years ago.

Meet Maurizio Cecco, the man behind Salvi’s.

What started as a personal endeavour to share the taste of Italy with friends in England quickly blossomed into something much larger.

Maurizio’s constant trips between the two countries, laden with delectable Italian delights, sparked a brilliant idea: why not turn this passion into a profession? And so, Salvi’s was born –  which now has two beautiful restaurants (in The Northern Quarter and Deansgate Square), a mozzarella bar and a deli at The Corn Exchange.

it’s a haven of authenticity and tradition.

Over a decade since its inception, Salvi’s unwavering commitment to authenticity remains unchanged.

Every week, Maurizio ensures that only the freshest Italian produce finds its way to his establishment – a tradition that’s upheld both in the deli and the restaurant.

From the cheeses to the pastries, from the pasta to the sauces, the essence of Italy continues to thrive within Salvi’s walls.

He also was one of the founders of Festa Italiana, which is now in its sixth year, and showcases the amazing products of Italy.

We caught up with him, to talk about what makes him tick.

Tell us about yourself. Your background and recent projects…

I moved to Manchester from Naples over 30 years ago, because when I went to catering college in Sorrento, I couldn’t speak any English and I wanted to work all over the world.

To work all over the world, I needed to be able to speak English. So, my teacher in Sorrento had a friend with a restaurant in Manchester and he said to me that I can come here for 6 months, pick up some English and then he would send me wherever I wanted to go. I came to Manchester, loved it and I
stayed…and now I have a Mancunian accent!

At that time, we were struggling to find any proper Italian products; everything was made with the English taste.

That’s why we set up Salvi’s in the first place, to bring authentic Italian products to Manchester.

My wife Claire and I realised that there was a market for it, so we found this place and we did it and now here we are: 12 years, 3 restaurants, and 2 delis in.

I try to return home for inspiration as much as possible as Salvi’s brand is built with Naples at its heart.

The newest project has to be our Deansgate Square branch which has now been open for 12 months and has allowed us to expand and build upon an already successful brand.

We are also very proud of our Festa Italiana which is now in its 6th year; we started it in order to bring the competitive Mancunian Italian hospitality community together as one happy family and it has grown year on year, and we are back in Cathedral Gardens 25th-27th August.

What got you started in your field of work?

Well, I left school with no qualifications and I was told I would never amount to anything by my teachers back in Naples. I was sent to a catering college in Sorrento as a last resort by my dad Salvatore, who the Salvi’s brand is named after, and the rest is history… sometimes I think I should invite my old school teachers over for a lovely meal to see if it improves my old report cards!

Who has been the biggest influence on your work?

My mum, Teresa, the majority of the dishes served at Salvi’s are inspired by her amazing home cooking and family recipes. We even have a dish named after her on the menu – the Nonna Teresa; it is delicious and one of our best sellers.

What is your proudest achievement so far?

Festa Italiana is well up there for me; watching everyone drink, dance and have fun all celebrating the Italian culture is a proud moment for myself and the entire team. We love Manchester and we wanted to create something for the people – now it is well and truly a staple in the city’s event calendar, and we couldn’t be happier.

What does your typical day involve?

Every day starts the right way, with a coffee made by my beautiful wife Claire…I think that’s what she told me to say anyway! When I’ve had my coffee, I get out to visit all of my restaurants to make sure everyone is happy and everything is running well. Usually, I work in whichever site needs me on that particular day, and I normally finish in the kitchen in the early hours of the morning, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!

And how do you relax on your days off?

What’s a day off??!!

What is the best advice you have been given or can give?

I will simply say: you have to work hard, because nothing is easy in life, but if you have the belief that an idea will work, then do it, because no one is going to do it for you.


If things hadn’t worked out, what else could you have seen yourself doing?

I always believed things would work out, so I have never really thought about this! But when I retire, I would love to do something with motorbikes because they have always been a passion of mine.

Tell us one thing about yourself people might be surprised to hear…

Not many people know that, a long time ago in Manchester, I used to have my own vintage clothing business specialising in vintage Belstaff and Barbour as well as 60s/70s women’s boots.

Red or Blue?

When it comes down to it, it’s Napoli all the way! But I also consider myself a United fan and follow the mighty Reds as much as I can.

If you could change one thing about Manchester, what would it be?

I’d have to say the weather – next time I pop to Naples, I will try and bring the sunshine back with me!

And finally, what do you love most about Manchester?

The people. No more needs to be said – if you know, you know.

Festa Italiana takes place from August 25th to 27th at Cathedral Gardens in the centre of town.

Entry is free, but some events need tickets.

For more information, check out our article here.

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