A Tour of Little Italy
Located just a few blocks from Baltimore’s picturesque Inner Harbor, Little Italy holds its own as a cozy haven of Italian culture and delicacies. Here’s how to make a day of your Little Italy explorations.
In this cozy and colorful neighborhood just east of the Inner Harbor you’ll find authentic Italian cafes and eateries. As you stroll through the charming narrow streets of Little Italy, you may happen upon outdoor movies, evening bocce matches on the courts at D’Alesandro Park or one of many Italian festivals throughout the year.
Things To Do in Little Italy
Little Italy is a small and tight-knit community full of families who’ve lived here for generations, many of whom own the delicious Italian restaurants in the area. To name a few: Café Gia is known for its colorful mural and balcony, La Tavola is a top pick for fine dining, La Scala has an outdoor patio and complimentary shuttle from downtown and family-owned favorite Sabatino’s has been around for generations. If you have a sweet tooth, you can’t miss Vaccaro’s Italian Pastry, which has been open since 1956, for traditional cannolis, gelato and biscotti.
In between meals, you might also want to visit popular nearby attractions such as the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House, Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, Jewish Museum of Maryland or Historic President Street Station. As you stroll from attraction to attraction, you may notice several of Little Italy’s colorful murals.
The Little Italy bocce ball leagues are some of the most competitive to get into each year between May and September. The courts, which are open to the public, are popular hang-outs during the warmer months, with green-white-and-red painted benches for spectators. For year-round bocce games head to La Scala where you’ll find indoor courts in the restaurant.
Little Italy Restaurants
It’s not hard to find great food in Baltimore, and Little Italy is no exception. Here are just a few great places to eat in Little Italy if you’re looking for a break from your exploration.
Events in Little Italy
There are several annual events and festivals in Little Italy. Get a true feel for the neighborhood at these can’t-miss events.
Feast of St. Anthony Italian Festival
This summer festival has been a Little Italy tradition since 1904, when residents believe St. Anthony intervened to save the neighborhood from a destructive fire blazing through downtown Baltimore. Today, the festival features games of chance, bocce, street vendors, live music and Giant Meatball Contest.
Italian Heritage Day
Each October, the neighborhood celebrates Italian Heritage Day beginning with a Mass at St. Leo the Great. After the Mass, a procession winds through the streets of Little Italy and a free, family-friendly street festival ensues. This year’s event takes place October 9 and will include bocce tournaments, an exotic sports car show, live music and, of course, delicious Italian food!
Madonnari Arts Festival
This free annual festival in Baltimore’s historical Italian neighborhood spans several days and showcases elaborate street chalk illustrations by international artists each fall. Festival attendees enjoy plenty of Italian food and wine while watching numerous music, theater and dance performances.
Annual Little Italy Christmas Tree Lighting
Stop by Little Italy at the beginning of December to experience Christmas carols while the neighborhood Christmas Tree is adorned with trimmings and lights. Babbo Natale is usually in attendance, and hot chocolate provided.