The most famous Little Italy in the United States: a journey in search of Italianness

In my many trips to the United States I have visited many so-called ” Italian ” neighborhoods, some very interesting and authentic, others more attraction for tourists looking for stereotypes.

I am not particularly attracted to the Little Italy scattered around the world but some have impressed me and sometimes I am also pleased to meet people who are far away (or who have never even been in Italy) to claim their origins with passion: we are always very good at criticizing our country, but when we are far away, it lacks to anyone even with all the contradictions and idiocies that characterize it.

  • 1 Little Italy Americans not to be missed
    • 1.1 Ellis Island Immigration Museum
    • 1.2 Little Italy Manhattan, New York
    • 1.3 Little Italy by Arthur Ave, The Bronx, New York
    • 1.4 Little Italy, San Diego
    • 1.5 North End Boston

Little Italian America not to be missed

When I plan my itinerary to visit a particular city in the United States and in the world I see if there is an Italian neighborhood (which is not said to carry the name of “Little Italy”): in these years I have learned that often the best communities of compatriots and their descendants are far from the tourist center and are sometimes also found in small towns.

Ellis Island Immigration Museum

The United States is a country born of immigration , especially the European one with which colonization began. So in my ideal journey in search of Italianity in the United States, it should all start with Ellis Island and its Immigration Museum .
Many of our compatriots have passed through this “reception center” where migrants coming by ship from Europe were visited and questioned: those who were well and could constitute a resource for the USA was accepted, the others rejected without appeal.

How many stories of hope and despair have seen the walls of Ellis Island : when you’re in New York City do not miss this museum. On this page, libertyellisfoundation.org/passenger , you can search by name for the passengers who have been registered at the reception center over time. With my surname there is only one woman, Teresa Tobanelli , from a village in the province of Brescia (near where my grandfather was born …). She arrived in New York in 1920 at the age of 36 and had left Genoa on board the ship “Pesaro”.

Probably I will never know what he did once in the USA, what his fate was.

Little Italy Manhattan, New York

The most famous of all is the Little Italy of Manhattan in New York City: historically it is one of the oldest and most important in the United States. The streets of the district still tell stories of hardship and suffering, of people who lived crammed into tiny apartments, with really bad sanitary conditions.
Despite the great economic and social difficulties, our countrymen have managed to import with pride, so many traditions, our food and our holidays.

little italy new york

Today the Italian community no longer lives here, many have moved from a long time in the Bronx or New Jersey and the Chinese community from neighboring Chinatown has invaded the streets adjacent to Mulberry Street, the hub of Little Italy in Manhattan.
What remains are shops and restaurants but the streets can still remember when in this southern part of Manhattan, many Italians lived chasing the American dream.

Little Italy by Arthur Ave, The Bronx, New York

The most authentic “little Italy” in all of New York is the one found at Arthur Avenue , in the Bronx, precisely between East 189th Street and Crescent Avenue. I really recommend you take a walk through these streets, stop and eat something at Arthur Ave Retail Market, a market of typical products of Italian origin.
Among all the Italian communities that I have visited, this is really what fascinated me the most: far from the chaos of Manhattan and really inhabited by Italians, now second generation.

arthur ave new york

Little Italy, San Diego

Near Downtown , then in the heart of the beautiful Californian city, we find a small but lively Italian community: even here now a lot is mostly aimed at attracting tourists but has certainly been more protected than that of Manhattan. It is not difficult to find our compatriots arrived at a young age and that after so many years have not yet managed to shake off the typical Italian accent in the pronunciation of English.

A walk around here is a must on your trip to San Diego.

little italy san diego

North End Boston

Boston ‘s North End neighborhood is a very quaint neighborhood that long ago welcomed a large community of Italians. Today walking through the streets of this area, you will find Italian shops and restaurants, even if now the new generations often do not even know our language anymore.
Truly one of the must-see districts in Boston, plan a nice tour of the area!

boston little italy

Other Little Italy that I have had the opportunity to visit but which have actually struck me less, or because they have now fallen by melting pot , or because it is not said that an Italian community always correspond to restaurants and shops that highlight it, are those of Chicago, San Francisco, Baltimore, South Philadelphia and Hartfortd in Connecticut.

 

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