gennaio 2020
Our calendar is inclusive of Little Italy events
planned by various organizations in The Neighborhood
and is updated to the best of our ability.
around the neighborhood
Santa Claus seemed to be everywhere around Little Italy last month! Take a look at December's events ...
MURAL CELEBRATION: The Little Italy community gathered last month at Exeter & Bank Streets to celebrate its new Welcome Mural, created by artist Donald Tyson El , who spent nearly two months painting it, inspired by a picture on a wall in his neighbor’s house. "It feels good to see people moved by my work," he said. "Muralists don’t usually get a chance to talk to people about their art." Donald has painted murals for a number of Baltimore restaurants.

A short procession following Santa Claus on a horse-drawn wagon began at the bocce courts and led to the mural. Neighborhood resident Lisa "The Unicycle Elf" was on hand with festive tunes, and toys were accepted for Toys for Tots, along with a gloves/hats/scarves collection for the needy. Hot chocolate and cookies provided a warm addition to a cold night!
ANNUAL TREE TRIMMING & LIGHTING: This annual free family event delights attendees as they listen to Christmas carolers, help trim the tree, and enjoy pizzelle and hot beverages, complimentary of the organizer - the Original Little Italy Restaurant Association. They acknowledge and thank the Setup Committee: Deborah Highfield, Pamela Needleman, Arthur Gentile, Marco Minnie and Omar Othman (also the emcee and ceremony coordinator); Suzanna Molino, director of Promotion Center for Little Italy, who provided the treats distributed to kids by Santa Claus; Ray Alcaraz for portraying Santa; and Cesare Morisi and Craig Ross for serving refreshments.
LINA AND LODGE CHRISTMAS PARTIES: Special thanks to the residents who attended the  Little Italy Neighborhood Association/LINA  Holiday Party (above) at St. Leo's School Hall, and to the Little Italy restaurants and businesses that generously donated food and gift cards. Below are a few scenes from the Little Italy Lodge Kids' Christmas party.
Cookie Sale a sweet success
The Little Italy Lodge says THANKS to Celeste Hughes , cookie-baking coordinator, and her team of bakers who made over 3,600 traditional Italian cookies at St. Leo’s School Hall. The cookies were sold at the Lodge last month as a fundraiser and was a sweet success as they earned revenue of over $1,500!
  • Missed the cookies? Don't fret - they'll be featured as dessert at the Lodge's signature fundraiser, Taste of Italy 2020 on Sunday, April 26. Tickets will be on sale next month. For more info on the Lodge's Scholarship Program or its dinner email Maureen Chandler.

  • The Little Italy Lodge #2286 Foundation, Inc. is proud to announce the Foundation has doubled the scholarship amounts due to a generous 2019 donation from The Confraternity of Saint Gabriele of St. Leo's Church. Two scholarships for $8,000 each and two $4,000 scholarships will be awarded. Scholarship competition opens this month and closes May 1, 2020. Winners will be announced by mid-June. The 2020 scholarship application soon will be available online on a new Foundation website. Email Maureen Chandler with questions.

  • A Premium Raffle is being coordinated again this year by St. Leo's Knights of Columbus / St. Vincent Pallotti Council #14535. Only 200 tickets will be sold offering CASH PRIZES to the winners, including $100, $150, $200, $350 and a grand prize of $2,000! Proceeds will be used by the Council to support charitable projects, such as Catholic Schools Tuition Aid, seminarian sponsorship, and Coats 4 Kids Project. Winners will be drawn (need not be present to win) at the annual St. Patrick's Day Dinner & Drawing on Sunday, March 8, 2020 / 1-5 pm at the Little Italy Lodge - your raffle ticket includes admission. Enjoy Celtic music by Dileab Phriseil, an ensemble of musicians performing authentic Irish songs of Scotland and Ireland. To purchase raffle tickets, call or email Fran Blattermann, 410.207. 7075.
little italy in the news
  • Vaccaro's Italian Pastry Shop has closed its Bel Air location, but is still open for business in its three remaining locations in Little Italy, Canton, and Hunt Valley Towne Centre. Read story >>>

The following Little Italy restaurants are participating in Baltimore Restaurant Week. For complete details, visit

former Little Italy 'kid' shares memories
of growing up in the neighborhood
Carmen Strollo of Bethany Beach, Delaware grew up on Stiles Street in Little Italy, Baltimore. Recently on facebook, he had shared images of an 8x11 train garden he had created between 2008-2012 to help his three granddaughters (now ages 19, 21, 23) understand where and how he had grown up, dedicating the train garden to the Little Italy and the Baltimore of the late 1950s and 1960s.

"I had described to one of my granddaughters some of the buildings and the way it was when I was growing up," said Carmen, a musician, "and how much it has changed. But I saw a puzzled look on her face about what we used to call the Pump Station, dredging barges which came into the harbor in the summer, lumber yards, and the fruit company's storage buildings with watermelon boats at the docks. She smiled, but it didn't really sink in, so I decided to show her."

It took Carmen almost four years of research, scaling, and sizing as he built the train garden from scratch, modeling it after an aerial photo he had found at the Maryland Historical Society. Periodically, his granddaughters stopped in to help him build it; later, they played with it. The train garden once was set up year-round in his home.

" It was fun to build while it lasted," he said. " The only things I have left are some of the buildings, which meant so much to me. Growing up in Little Italy was the best. After dinner, all the kids in the neighborhood used to get together and play games, like Red Light and Hide 'n Go Seek, and play dodgeball and football in the playground behind St. Leo's School until it got dark. Little Italy truly was a community, a small town that happened to be located in a big city. It was a big family. No truer words can be said."

Once part of Carmen's train garden, these photos depict past/current venues in Little Italy. View his complete album here >>>
Kelly & Poggi Pharmacy
"I used to love going there when I was a little girl. Miss Julie and Miss Mary made the best Cherry Coke."
~ Anita Brooks  
Bagby Furniture
Scarlett Seed Co.
Granese Memorials
Horstmeier Lumber Co.
St. Leo's School
"The photo by Thomas Scilipoti I had used in the billboard on the ball field actually was a photo from my Little League days when I was around 9 years old."
~ Carmen Strollo
Ball Park at the Pump Station
LoPresti's Italian Grocer
St. Leo the Great
Learn the history of Little Italy

The neighborhood's fascinating history dates back to the Italian immigrants' arrival in Baltimore in the late 1800s. Chapters of interesting stories about Saint Leo's Church, Little Italy Lodge, neighborhood businesses, buildings, celebrities, icons, and more! Book sales benefit the 501(c)(3) volunteer-based nonprofit organization, Promotion Center for Little Italy, Baltimore, and was written by a Saint Leo's parishioner.
If you would like the book signed by the author to a specific
person's name, please note this as you purchase.
new book in production
The Italian Community in Baltimore
submit YOUR photos for consideration!
Suzanna Molino , author of Baltimore's Little Italy, and director of Promotion Center for Little Italy, is collecting historical photos as she writes Images in America: The Italian Community in Baltimore for Arcadia Publishing . The book will consist entirely of photographs which fit into the topics outlined below. Photos must be only of the Italian community in the Baltimore area and can depict topics in OR outside of Little Italy.


  • Italian-related events, organizations, teams, clubs
  • Houses, buildings, landmarks
  • Immigrants & families
  • Growing up Italian
  • Around Baltimore's Italian neighborhoods (Highlandtown, Belair Road, Little Italy)
  • In the Kitchen with Mamma & Nonna (traditions, cooking, baking)
  • Italians at work (individuals or Italian-owned businesses)
  • Italians serving our country (parades, uniforms, military activity)


  • Drop your photo files into; type in the email address
  • If you know how to use the settings on your printer/scanner, first scan photos at 300 dpi or higher and 8" wide (= 2400 pixels).
  • Save photos as .tif files.
  • NAME EACH PHOTO FILE with your topic AND your first & last name.
  • If you are not familiar with scanning and your photo is selected, you may have to lend the original for the author to scan. All photos will be returned.
Promotion Center for Little Italy, Baltimore
celebrates 10 years!
Help us to continue our mission ...
"Thanks for all the Promotion Center for Little Italy does for the Little Italy Lodge, St. Leo’s Church, and Little Italy. 
Not sure if we all express enough gratitude for your
tireless efforts on our behalf, but I know from so many conversations, you are greatly appreciated."
~ Maureen Chandler, Little Italy Lodge
Promotion Center logo
It doesn't have to be Christmas to gift our 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We are a volunteer-based organization not funded by anything or anyone, and depend solely on general donations plus newsletter sponsorship to sustain our mission of promoting the history, heritage and events of "The Neighborhood."
ANY amount you donate helps to produce promotional communications (such as this newsletter), fliers, and other promotional materials for Little Italy's parish, lodge, bocce, learning center, Columbus Celebrations, and more - and maintains Little Italy's presence online through websites and social media.
newsletter sponsorship available
2020 newsletter
ad space available

  • $60 per ad per newsletter
  • Buy 1 month at a time, or purchase entire year at a 20% discount!
  • Neighborhood News from Little Italy includes only 1 to 3 ads per issue, so grab your desired month before it sells out!
  • Email list includes over 10,000 with a 40% open rate
  • Newsletter reaches thousands more on Little Italy's social media: Twitter, 4 facebook pages, LinkedIn
  • Ad revenue covers cost for our email marketing account on Constant Contact
paid sponsors
from our e-mailbox

"Look forward to the new book!"
~ Gary Chandler

"I visited the holiday train garden at the Jacksonville Senior Center; it included Saint Leo's Church."
~ Larry Martin

"Now I call New Jersey home, however, previously I worked in Hunt Valley and used to go down to Little Italy at night to play bocce. I often frequent Little Italy in my trips to Baltimore and York, Pennsylvania, and always thought of this little part as my 'go-to' spot, whether for dinner at Chiapparelli's or picking up Easter cheese pies at Vaccaro's bakery on the corner. You're doing great work keeping our traditions going."
~ Giacomo Visioli 

Director & Founder

Ray Alcaraz
Co-Founder & President

Promotion Center for Little Italy, Baltimore is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit
organization established in 2010 with a mission to promote Little Italy's
events, community organizations, church, history and Italian heritage.