Originally Italian since 1961
London's first real Italian food store was originally opened by two brothers, Ennio and Isidoro Camisa, back in 1929 situated at 66 Old Compton Street, Soho.
The heart of London was already a popular stomping ground for many Italian immigrants, especially those who opposed Mussolini's fascist government at the time, often using Italian shops as meeting points. During the war, however, many Italian immigrants living in the United Kingdom were detained and held in camps across the country, including the Camisa brothers. Subsequently the original store was closed down.
After the war, c.1948, the Camisa brothers returned to Soho, deciding to open a new shop on Berwick Street. After many years in business together, the brothers decided to part ways and Isidoro opened his own store relocating back to Old Compton Street, albeit this time at number 61 where the deli still stands today as I Camisa & Son.
Both stores became the talking point of all Londoners, from all different backgrounds, and were heralded for their already vast selection of imported Italian specialities, many of which couldn't be found anywhere else in the UK.
Isidoro, together with the aid of his son, reigned thanks to his passion and desire to continue providing London with a true taste of Italy. Today, I Camisa & Son is known worldwide, partly thanks to the invention of the internet, with many tourists making the deli one of their destinations during their visit. Visitors and customers alike are welcomed by typical warmth and aromas that can only be experienced, outside of Italy, at I Camisa & Son.
Although no longer run by a living descendant of Isidoro Camisa, we continue to carry the prestigious name and the deli is still managed with the original ethos of providing a real inimitable taste and feel of Italy, especially that of a local Italian 'salumeria' or 'generi alimentari'.
Due to inaccuracies in the original transcript, this section has been revised in accordance with Mr. Francesco Camisa (nephew of original owner of Isidoro Camisa) who has generously updated us with more accurate detail of accounts. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. (May 2020)