Little Italys, Italian neighborhoods around the country, all have one common characteristic - they are rich in history and culture, much of which is translated through food. Although Italian-American Heritage month is in October, we’d like to share some great Little Italys now so you can plan your trip around restaurants, bakeries and events that showcase the Italian culture.
Boston, MA – North End
The North End is Boston’s oldest residential community and is known by some as Boston’s Little Italy. With many authentic restaurants and bakeries to choose from, we thought we would share some must-visit places:
· Regina Pizzeria
· Mike’s Pastry
· Café Vittoria
· Galleria Umberto
Historic sites or tours in the North End worth noting include the Freedom Trail Walk and Old North Church. The Freedom Trail Walk is about a 2 ½ hour walking tour that includes stops at museums, meeting houses, American Revolution sites and churches. The Old North Church is the historical site said to launch the American Revolution and where the signal “One if by land, two if by sea” was located.
Bronx, NY – Arthur Avenue
There are many Little Italys in New York but one that has gotten rave reviews is Arthur Avenue. Otherwise known as Belmont or Little Italy of the Bronx, Arthur Avenue packs a punch when it comes to Italian fare. Here are some places not to miss:
· Ann & Tony’s
· Arthur Avenue Retail Market
· Madonia Brothers Bakery
· Mike’s Deli
Some nearby attractions to walk off the carb overload are the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden.
Cleveland, OH – Little Italy
Cleveland’s Little Italy has been described as a place for the artistic community to showcase their art and talents. It is common to hear opera being sung as a live performance in one of the trattorias or see sidewalk art exhibits along your stroll. Steeped in rich history while adding modern artistic flair, Cleveland welcomes visitors to enjoy both the old-world charm and contemporary touches.
Of course, there are an amazing array of restaurants and bakeries as well:
· Corbo’s Bakery
· Guarino’s – Cleveland’s Oldest Restaurant
· Mia Bella Restaurant
· Trattoria on the Hill
· Little Italy Wines
· Etna Little Italy
As mentioned, Cleveland’s Little Italy is home to an art community and there are some galleries to set your sights on – Keller Art Glass, Tara Seibel Gallery, and Verne Gallery to name a few.
San Diego, CA – Little Italy
America’s Largest Little Italy is forty-eight square blocks and located in San Diego. The main thoroughfare is India Street which, according to tourists, is the liveliest street with restaurants and shops on both sides. If you are planning on visiting, here are our suggested places to go:
· Mona Lisa Italian Foods
· Civico 1845
· Little Italy Mercato – Farmer’s Market
· Lofty Coffee Café & Bakery
While you are there, you can stop at one (or all) of the four squares in Little Italy – Piazza della Famiglia, Giannini Square, Piazza Basilone, and Fisherman’s Square. The Firemen’s Museum and Amici Park are also stops to make along the way.
Chicago, IL – Little Italy/University Village
Chicago’s Little Italy, known as University Village, has an eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, cafés, and historical buildings. Here are our top suggestions to carb-load in the Little Italy section of the Windy City:
· Scafuri Bakery
· Tuscany on Taylor
· Conte de Savoia – Italian Market
· Mario’s Italian Lemonade
· The Rosebud
· Pompei Restaurant
There are also numerous parks to visit as well as the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, Auditorium Theatre, or the Maxwell Street Station which was made popular by the 1980’s show “Hill Street Blues”.
Providence, RI – Federal Hill
Federal Hill, Providence Rhode Island’s Little Italy is known for its gateway arch featuring a La Pigna (pinecone) sculpture to welcome visitors. You will also find the lines on the street painted in the colors of the Italian flag. As it is best explored on foot, here are some places to saunter into on your trip:
· Constantino Venda’s Ravioli
· Scialo Brothers Italian Bakery
· Joe Marzilli’s Old Canteen
· Massimo Ristorante
Other places to visit include DePasquale Square and Garibaldi Park. Strolling through Federal Hill gives one a sense of the Old World with its charm and the Italian that is spoken almost as much as English…if not more.
San Francisco, CA – North Beach
Located between Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf is San Francisco’s Little Italy otherwise known as North Beach. The name North Beach may be confusing because there is no waterfront but, when it was first established, there was. The shoreline later filled in significantly causing North Beach to be pushed back from the shore a few blocks. Here are our picks of must-visit restaurants and bakeries:
· Stella Pastry & Café
· Sotto Mare Oysteria & Seafood
· The Italian Homemade Company
· Firenze By Night
· Golden Boy Pizza
· Fiore d’Italia
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention some area places to visit in and around North Beach so wander on over to Coit Tower to see beautiful murals (which, are all throughout North Beach), catch a comedy great at Cobb’s Comedy Club, and visit Washington Square Park too.
We hope this journey across the U.S. to visit Little Italys has sparked some travel inspiration. Let us know if you have visited one of these great places by reaching out to us at email@example.com. Hearing from you would make our day!
By Staff Contributor
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