Little Italy

A nostalgic area full of the legacies of Italian immigrant culture at the turn of the 20th century.

TravelCurious Tip

Little Italy was the locale of the Corleone family depicted in the Godfather trilogy. Enjoy an orange, and keep your eyes peeled…

Little Italy earned its name, quite simply, by being full of Italians. It used to be like an insular Neapolitan village recreated in Manhattan, with its own language, customs and financial and cultural institutions. However, after World War II Chinatown to the south began to expand, eating into Little Italy’s territory. Today it really is little, made up of just three blocks on Mulberry Street.

It may have shrunk, but those three blocks retain their old world charm and hold a serious concentration of restaurants and cafés. It’s certainly touristy, but if you know where to look you can still find a slice of Italy. For a rustic take on Italian cuisine, head to “Peasant”, where everything is cooked in a wood-fired oven and served to you on clay earthenware. You will be transported to the Tuscan hillsides.

Afterwards, move on to “Ferrara Bakery and Café”, the first espresso bar in America. It opened in 1892, but still does much the same thing: cannolis and cream puffs, gelato and cookies, and of course cappuccino — though don’t ask for one after 11am…

The Good Life

The Feast of San Gennaro is an 11 day festival that takes place every September along Mulberry Street. It celebrates Italian culture and the Italian-American community. Expect food, drink, parades, and zeppole — a deep-fried dough ball, filled with custard, or butter and honey, and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in New York
E. V. Haughwout Building
Created in 1856, this cast-iron landmark is home to the first passenger elevator.
Old Police Headquarters
Today a group of luxury apartments, the NYPD's former headquarters is one of the finest Beaux-Arts buildings in all New York.
Manhattan Chinatown
A bustling district home to the largest Chinese population in the Western Hemisphere.
5th Precinct
One of New York's most well known precincts. It polices Chinatown and Little Italy.
Eldridge Street Synagogue
Built in 1887, the Eldridge Street Synagogue remains a historic landmark in Manhattan's Chinatown neighborhood.
Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue and Museum
A synagogue built in 1925-27, which now functions as a museum too.

Related Tours

Private Walking Tour of Little Italy, Greenwich Village, Soho, and Chinatown
The different neighbourhoods of New York each have something to give the curious traveller. Visit four of its most vibrant districts to see many of New York’s off the beaten path sights with your private guide. On your private tour, you will:  

  • Enjoy the comfort of a private guide, walking with you throughout, while giving you the history of these famous and disparate neighbourhoods. 
  • Begin your tour in the avant-garde Greenwich Village, and see where the ‘Friends’ apartment allegedly was, and see the Washington Arch.
  • Learn about the Stonewall Riots, and see the Monument dedicated to it.
  • Visit the artistic soul of New York City in Soho, filled with galleries and art museums.
  • See the impact of immigration in Little Italy and Chinatown, and learn how each neighbourhood came to be a local diaspora.
Simply known as “The Village” and much loved by native New Yorkers, Greenwich Village has been and still is home to America’s bohemian scene. While in the area, you will see where the ‘Friends’ apartment was located, explore Washington Square Park, a buzzing city hangout, and see beautiful architecture, including 19th-century brownstone carriage houses. See some unusual spots, the home where John Wilkes Booth spoke openly of his plan to murder President Abraham Lincoln. On your way out of the neighbourhood, you may see Jefferson Market Library and Bleecker Street, as well as where Hemingway, Edgar Poe, Jackson Pollack lived and worked. 

You will venture through vibrant Soho, where your guide will tell you about its transformation from its' humble beginnings as a centre for the rag trade industry, eventually becoming an extravagant artist community. See Soho's unique collection of cast iron buildings such as the Haughwout Building, home to the first safety elevator, and the Old Police Headquarters— the 1909 Beaux-Arts building.
From there, while walking the narrow cobblestone streets in the heart of Little Italy, you will learn about Mafia hangouts, the most famous of which is Ravenite Club. Pop into the oldest cheese shop in NYC and the first NYC pizzeria, and explore Old Saint Patrick's Cathedral. Journey through NYC’s Chinatown, walk along Canal and Motts Streets, the former Five Points District, and the Old Opium Den, where you will hear stories of Chinese immigrants who came to Manhattan to build a future of their own. Your expert local guide will also tell you all about the violent gangs that sprang up around them, fighting for dominance. Your tour will finish in the area, where your guide will happily direct you to any number of eateries where you can rest and recharge before continuing to explore at your leisure. 
Mafia Food Tour with Retired NYPD Detective
Walk the beat with a retired NYPD Detective born and raised in Little Italy, visiting notorious Mafia and Crime locations in NYC and hearing his stories of life between New York's finest and his neighbourhood. 

  • Visit notorious mafia scenes after dark 
  • Listen to crime stories from your guide's police career and life experiences 
  • Taste some of the best local joints in the city, including fresh pizza, homemade mozzarella, and cured meats
The Italian American Mafia is a huge network of highly organised criminal gangs. In particular to this tour, you have the Five Families existing in New York: Bonanno crime family; Colombo crime family; Gambino crime family; Genovese crime family; Lucchese crime family. 

These crime families originated out of New York City Sicilian Mafia gangs, but a great deal of networking occurred in New York's Little Italy. Here, they fatally clashed with the NYPD as Italian organised crime continued to expand. In particular, the 5th precinct which polices Chinatown and Little Italy continually battled with the Italian American Mafia. 

On this tour, you will visit notorious mafia haunts as you walk from the Lowest Eastside to Little Italy, authentically experiencing what it was like to be an associate of New York's famous families. You will hear first-hand accounts of the NYC Mafia and crimes in NYC.  

Visit where John Gotti and the Gambino Crime Family members hung out, ate, partied and ran their elusive "family businesses". See the Ravenite Social Club and more. Taste your way through iconic local spots, including fresh pizza from a famous mafia 'red sauce joint' (established in 1908), incredible handmade mozzarella, cured meats, as well as meatballs from the best joint in Little Italy, finished off with a full-sized cannoli from one of Little Italy's iconic local spots.

Get a behind the scenes look that no other tour can offer. Meet a real mob "associate" and former Detective while he guides you to the places no one else knows about. Get answers to the questions you've been dying to ask.


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