Marco moved to New York City from Puglia, Italy, in 1996 to pursue a career in music as a drummer. While enrolled in The Drummer's Collective and auditioning for different bands, he worked as a cashier at 137 Sullivan Street at a French Bistro now home to Mareluna Soho.
His break in music came when he partnered up with another fellow musician who was a bass player for Marc Anthony. His music career took off, and he went on a South American tour with Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez, where he fell in love with Latin American culture. For nine months, he lived in Havana, Cuba, in a small neighborhood that used to be the old Chinatown. He was fascinated by the Asian influence and mix of Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Chinese cultures. He loved how so many people came together through music, food, and religion.
Marco decided to move back to the United States, and shortly after, Favela Cubana and Calle Dao were born. After mastering the art of Cuban-Brazilian and Cuban-Asian cuisines, Marco finally decided to pay homage to his Italian roots and open a modern Italian restaurant. He started looking at real estate, and to his surprise, 137 Sullivan Street was on the market. The very same place he was once a cashier. It was meant to be. He walked in and could feel the energy, the charm, and the nostalgia. It was just the right place. He walked into the basement, kitchen, and back room, which felt like home. He always loved that block and how it was a real neighborhood, how people knew each other. He loved the idea of running into the same people he would see 25 years ago.
When in Italy, Marco had a cover band, and his favorite song was something he describes as intercultural, catchy, yet smooth and absolutely beautiful and simple. When he finally got the space, he decided to name the restaurant Mareluna, where he would try a new modern approach to old-school Italian food he cherished so much: more seafood and mixing different flavors.