A small peninsula jutting into the harbor, Boston’s North End is one of the city’s oldest and most storied neighbourhoods. Puritans from England settled the area, followed by waves of other European immigrants whose red-brick homes still crowd the narrow, maze-like streets. By the early 20th Century, tens of thousands of Italian immigrants had transformed this 1-sq-km area into the city’s “Little Italy” (although nobody calls it that!).
Today, the North End retains its multicultural atmosphere. The streets are lined with Italian restaurants and delis, and you can still overhear animated Italian conversations on the street. “It’s the greatest inner-city Italian community in the United States,” exclaimed resident Frank Depasquale. “It’s one of a kind.”
Like many immigrants before him, Depasquale settled in the North End when his family arrived from Italy some 67 years ago. He opened a small shop called Il Panino, where he hawked sandwiches made with homemade bread, Parma prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella. Today, he owns and operates nine Italian food enterprises in the North End, and you can still get his signature “Panino” sandwich at his shop, Bricco Salumeria.
“The way to experience this neighbourhood is to come here with an open mind,” Depasquale said. When you see someone speaking Italian, say a couple of words back to them. They would love to tell you directions to where you want to go… that’s how this whole neighbourhood is constructed. We hug people. We give them double kisses. We give them directions and we help them with anything they need.”
Here are Frank Depasquale’s recommendations on how to experience the best of Boston’s North End. Read more on Boston’s North End at BBC Travel…