Cleveland's Little Italy neighborhood is flat out special. Brick roads are lined with Ma and Pop Italian restaurants, cafes and bakeries and every spot in this pocket of Cleveland will make you feel like you're at your Nonna's house for Sunday dinner. Conveniently located right near University Circle, home to Cleveland's world-renowned museums, nationally recognized hospitals, beautiful parks and more, this special CLE spot is filled with history and renown of its own.
Ahhh, Italian food. You really can’t do much better than pizza, pasta, meatballs, tiramisu…okay we have to stop listing things in order to think straight. There’s so much deliciousness to devour here, it’s hard to find somewhere to start.
- Dive into Mia Bella’s unbelievable selection of contemporary Italian dishes like their Cheese Tortellini, which is a tad spicy with a creamy sauce that’s mixed with peas and prosciutto.
- Some of the best pizza you’ll ever eat is made at Mamma Santa’s, which has family atmosphere that’s warm, relaxed and easy to make yourself home in.
- Sweet tooth? Wander into Corbo’s Bakery for a serious cannoli or a slice of the most heavenly cassata cake you’ll ever encounter.
- Monday nights are Opera Night at La Dolce Vita, where you can enjoy live opera singing while you sip your wine and indulge in fresh-cooked pasta.
We’ve really just scratched the surface, here. You really need to dive in and sample everything for yourself. We might know of a good opportunity for that…
The Feast to End all Feasts
If all Clevelanders are a little bit Irish on St. Paddy's Day and a little bit Polish on Dyngus Day, then we’re all Italian during the Feast of the Assumption - if only for a few days. "The Feast" takes over Cleveland's historic Little Italy neighborhood every August and turns it into a five-block extravaganza of tangy marinara and delicious carbs in every form imaginable.
In a summer full of amazing festivals, this one’s the Godfather. It’s practically mandatory attendance for Clevelanders, making it one of the busiest events on our calendar. All of the restaurants that line Mayfield Avenue and Murray Hill bring their Italian delicacies onto the street and into the mouths of festivalgoers. Walk the strip to find spaghetti and meatballs, cavatelli, meatball and sausage subs, calzones…okay seriously, we need to stop again.
The heart and soul of the Little Italy neighborhood is Holy Rosary Church. For the past 120+ years, the church, parish and neighborhood have commemorated the Catholic Holy Day of Assumption and the preceding week with a church festival unlike any you’ve ever seen featuring live music, carnival rides, and a gorgeous candlelit procession, just to name a few. The neighborhood also boasts an eclectic art scene that comes alive during the festival, and you won’t want to miss the booths dedicated to authentic Italian goods and knick-knacks, either.
You don’t have to be Italian to love Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood. Whether you’re in town for The Feast, or any other day of the year, you can spend hours walking along Murray Hill, sampling delicious local cuisine (you do know pizza and cannolli are handheld, right?) admiring local art and sifting through artisan and imported goods as you take in over 100 years of Cleveland history.