You might think you're in Italy, but you're actually in Providence

  • What's in a name?

    If you're wondering why Providence's Federal Hill is not called Little Italy, it's for a good reason. Federal Hill received its name on Independence Day in 1788 to celebrate the ratification of the Federal Constitution and became the home of British and Irish immigrants over the decades. The 1870s saw a major influx of immigrants from Southern Italy. By the early 20th century, Federal Hill had become Providence's informal "Little Italy."

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • "Pine cone" gateway arch

    As you enter Federal Hill at Atwells Avenue, you'll notice a magnificent arch and may wonder at its meaning. La Pigna (pine cone), which hangs from the center, is a traditional Italian symbol of welcome, quality and abundance, and is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Providence. With that going for you, you can't help but have a magical time in this colorful neighborhood.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • Handmade Italian sausage

    Lovers of Italian sausage know that there's an art to this centuries-old tradition. You can still find handmade sausage, among other Italian delicacies, at Tony’s Colonial Market on DePasquale Square.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • Antipasto delights

    In Italy, the “antipasto” plate welcomes visitors to the first of multiple courses, in what is usually an hours-long meal. You can enjoy an authentic antipasto, embellished with imported olives, prosciutto, fresh Parmigiano cheese and crispy homemade bread in several of the shops and eateries lining Atwells Avenue. You may find that after this hearty plate, you won’t need all those extra courses!

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • The colors of a Venetian isle

    The vibrantly painted buildings in the heart of Federal Hill are reminiscent of the colorful fishing village on the island of Burano, in Venice’s north lagoon. 

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Glide down the river on an authentic Venetian gondola

    And speaking of Venice, before or after your tour of Federal Hill, there’s nothing more romantic than to glide down the Providence River in an authentic Venetian gondola. You’ll be serenaded by a charming gondolier as you sip your champagne and sail past the historic landmarks along Providence’s Riverwalk.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Roma or Providence?

    Is this a scene in Rome, or in Providence? If you can’t book a trip to Italy anytime soon, consider a visit to Federal Hill for an authentic taste of Italy right here in the USA. 

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Scallops, Italian-style

    Think fresh New England seafood combined with age-old Italian recipes, and you’ll describe the menu at Federal Hill’s Trattoria Zooma.  Neapolitan manager Armando Bisceglia is adamant about importing the freshest ingredients and exceptional wines from his homeland to share with his restaurant guests.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • An Italian plaza at Federal Hill's heart

    If you've ever traveled to Italy, you'll recognize the importance of the "piazza" – a centrally located plaza that serves as a hub of Italian towns and cities. It acts as a social gathering place and is surrounded by cafes, restaurants, groceries, retail stores, relaxing seating areas and, without fail, a bubbling fountain. DePasquale Square embodies all of these elements and serves as the heart of Federal Hill’s Little Italy.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • The science of cheese slicing

    Did you know it takes an expert to properly cut a giant wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, imported directly from Italy? It's a true science and one that is alive and well in Providence's Federal Hill.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Meet up with the locals

    Tradition is alive and well in Federal Hill if you just look for it. Directly across the street from DePasquale Square, you’ll see a corner where the Italian-American historians hang out. They’ll be delighted to tell you the history of Federal Hill, and point you to any visitor experience you would like to embrace.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Mural, mural on the wall

    From the early Roman days, Italians loved to create murals on city walls. So it’s no wonder that Federal Hill has its share of colorfully artistic murals for visitors to enjoy as they stroll along its streets.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Pasta from Heaven

    You can buy everything from colorful Italian pasta strainers to the most exquisite pastas, cheeses and meats (much of which is shipped directly from Italy) in the many delis and specialty stores that line the community's streets.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Italian culinary delights

    It’s not easy to prepare a swordfish steak that melts in your mouth, but Siena Restaurant manages to consistently do so. Sustainably-raised seafood and meats, as well as organic farm-to-table produce, are the keys to their success.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • Art at every corner

    Italian-themed street art, romantic gas lamps and a true European atmosphere define a visit to Federal Hill in Providence.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • Enjoy the local color

    From traditional Italian experiences to the Hollywood-inspired ones, you’ll enjoy all aspects of Italian-American local color as you stroll along the neighborhood's main street.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • Italian pastries of all kinds await you

    If you love sweets, you'll be in heaven in Federal Hill. You can find just about any variety of Italian pastry in neighborhood bakeries, coffee shops and restaurant – in addition to freshly baked Italian breads.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Federal Hill offers a variety of visitor experiences

    Federal Hill may be predominantly Italian-themed, but rest assured that there are many establishments that offer a wide variety of cuisine, entertainment and visitor experiences to satisfy any taste.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • A flaming sunset marks the end of a perfect day

    Enjoy a spectacular sunset as you raise a glass of Chianti in celebration of your unforgettable day in Providence's Little Italy.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona


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