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Cleveland Neighborhoods - Little Italy


Little Italy, located just outside of the University Circle area, is steeped in history and old world charm. It's also home to many galleries and restaurants.
Cleveland Neighborhoods - Little Italy

Trattoria on the Hill in Little Italy

(courtesy of University Circle Inc.)
Little Italy sits above University Circle, bounded by Euclid Avenue to the south, Cedar Road to the east, Mayfield Road to the north, and Lake View Cemetery to the west. The area became a thriving neighborhood in the late 19th century when dozens of skilled stone cutters and craftsmen arrived from Italy to design and create the magnificent monuments at Lake View that mark the graves of some of that era's most influential citizens.

Today, the neighborhood still retains its Italian flavor. There are small family-run bakeries, Italian restaurants – featuring everything from stylish Northern Italian cuisine to provincial pizza and pasta.

Approximately 8,700 residents live in the Little Italy neighborhood.

Around three-quarters of the houses in Little Italy are rentals, many of them multi-unit dwellings, created from large early 20th century frame houses. Most of the storefronts along Mayfield Road also have apartments above them. New construction in the area includes the Villa Carabelli condo development at the top end of Mayfield Road and the Random Road Lofts.

Little Italy has a long history of varied Italian restaurants. Chef Hector Boiardi (known to the world as Chef Boyardee) started his culinary career here and Guarino's was Ohio's first Italian restaurant. Today, the neighborhood is still the place to go in Cleveland for Italian food. Among the most popular eateries are:
  • Trattoria Roman Gardens (picture above)
  • Guarino's
  • Washington Place Inn and Bistro
  • Valerio's
  • Mama Santo's Pizza

    Mayfield Road and Murray Hill Road are lined with small art galleries, featuring everything from pottery to photography to glass art to oil paintings. Prices vary from under $10 to more than $10,000. The most interesting of these galleries are in the Murray Hill School, a former elementary school, now home to dozens of artists' studios and galleries.

    Little Italy hosts three annual art walks, in June, October, and December. In addition, the neighborhood comes alive each August for the Feast of the Assumption, a four-day celebration with a procession, food vendors, live music, carnival rides, and other festivities.

    Little Italy, with its Roman Catholic roots, is watched over by the graceful Holy Rosary Church on Mayfield Road. The church is the center of the Feast of the Assumption celebration as well as the site of numerous Italian weddings.
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