Cuisine, Markets, and Festivals: Exploring Bella Vista

Image Courtesy of Visit Philly

Image Courtesy of Visit Philly

Known for being the first Philly neighborhood settled by Italian immigrants, Bella Vista is one of the most diverse and exciting communities in Philadelphia. Bella Vista, which translates to ‘beautiful sight’, gets its namesake for its gorgeous view of the Center City Skyline. Its history dates to the colonial era, where protestant Italian immigrants from Sicily began to settle in the area, but it only grew into a thriving Italian hub in the late 1880s, where a vast amount of Italians traveled to the U.S. They established bonds with the current residents, and by the 1970s, the location had grown to roughly 600,000 Italians living primarily in South Philly. It’s currently home to the first Italian immigrant bathhouse which later became the Fante-Leone pool. Bella Vista also has its share of famous residents, including the world-renowned opera singer Mario Lanza and social activist Frances E.W. Harper. There is even a museum in the neighborhood celebrating the history and impact of Mario Lanza’s work. Now with its current moniker of Philadelphia’s “Little Italy”, Bella Vista prides itself on celebrating the best of Italian history and culture. In recent years, the neighborhood has become even more diverse, with growing Vietnamese and Mexican immigrant populations. The history of Bella Vista is vast, and one of the neighborhood’s modern highlights is the availability of different cuisine options.

Image Courtesy of Visit Philly

Image Courtesy of Visit Philly

You didn’t think we’d forget to bring up the Italian Market did you? One of the oldest open air markets in America, the Italian Market stretches 10 blocks in South Philly. We’d list off all of the great things you can find, but honestly, it’d be easier to make a list of what’s not at the Italian Market. Many of the bakeries and shops have an antique flair that makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. There are countless restaurants located alongside the neighborhood, so you’ll never run out of places to explore. Alongside the Italian Market are a variety of delicious restaurants including Di Bruno Bros., Sabrina’s Café, and Paesano’s II.  Due to the after mentioned growing population, you can visit the market and enjoy Mexican food, Korean barbecue, and cuisine from Laos and Thailand.

1201-15 Fitzwater St #203

1201-15 Fitzwater St #203

Ready to start house-hunting in this amazing neighborhood? The best part of living in the area is that while you have tons of excitement at the Italian Market, many of the streets are quiet and peaceful, perfect for families and those who want to get away from the hectic nature of city life. Wow! Your dream home has materialized! 1201-15 Fitzwater St #203 is an amazing recently modernized condo in the Hawthorne Lofts that has everything your heart desires. This handsome historically certified, strong bones, former school house was newly converted to a 53 unit, pet-friendly condo building in 2005. Your unit has 5 years remaining of its tax abatement and GATED PARKING. Upon entering you'll pass a fully equipped, professional quality gym with his and her sauna and locker rooms, a club room with a community pool table and flat screen television, and the laundry facility which encompasses 20 high quality, high efficiency, large capacity front loading machines that are maintained by the building and free to use by the residents. Take the elevator or stairs to your incredibly stunning bi-level 1-bedroom PLUS loft condo. Find soaring high ceilings in the bedroom and dramatic double-height living room with oversized windows. Gazing at the breathtaking views of downtown Philadelphia through your supersized windows or from your massive community roof deck will be a fun pastime and impress all your guests! In addition to the sizeable bedroom, the large double-height living room, the loft with extra storage and the sparkling bathroom, find an incredibly tasteful renovated kitchen with glittering backsplash, stainless steel appliances and soap stone countertops. This location in the center of it all scores 97% walk-ability (Whole foods is 2 blocks up and one block over), 100% public transit (the broad st line is 1 block away), and 95% biker's paradise. We can't wait until this home is yours.

Worried you’ll run out of things to do? You won’t, trust us. The Bella Vista Neighborhood Association provides a variety of events ranging from environmental walks to happy hours, and that doesn’t even include the variety of local pubs and gourmet food shops in the area. As an ever-changing cultural hub, Bella Vista truly represents the best of Philadelphia.