Stella was born in Asiago, Veneto, Italy on 2 January 1886. In 1908, during the Messina earthquake, he saved the life of a woman buried under rubble, and was awarded a medal for bravery.
In 1910, Stella emigrated to the United States, and worked as a miner in various coal mines in Michigan, and Montana copper mines. He returned to Italy in 1919, settling in Valeggio sul Mincio, a municipality in Verona, in the 1920s.
Stella married in around 1922, and had three children: Ida, Zeffira, and Eros. He became blind in 1968 due to glaucoma, but was still able to live independently until 1995, aged 109, when he moved in with his son Eros, a farmer.
On 8 February 1995, after the death of 109-year-old Giuseppe Pinna, Stella became the oldest living man in Italy. On 10 December that year, he became the oldest resident of Italy following the death of Chelidonia Merosi at 112 years old.
Stella died on 1 January 1997 at the age of 110 years, 365 days after being admitted to a Villafranca hospital the day before; he had been unwell for a few weeks prior. His three children, aged 74, 68, and 66, all outlived him. His successors as the oldest living person and man in Italy were Eleonora Casagrande, 110, and Antonio Baldo, 109, respectively.
An obituary was written after Stella’s death in the January/February 1997 edition of Veronesi nel Mondo. His age was verified by Giovanni Alunni and validated by the GRG on 23 October 2003.