ottobre 2020
Immigrants leave Ellis Island carrying all of their belongings in the
world after an arduous journey across the ocean and being
processed by U.S. Custom officers. (photo courtesy
This month is Italian Heritage Month! One fun thing we found online is Thirty-one Days of Italians which celebrates our Italian heritage by acknowledging the accomplishments of Italians and Italian Americans; it includes a name for each day in October. The last day - the 31st - is set aside to honor a special and influential Italian in your life.

🇮🇹 Ottobre 1 🇮🇹 Honor the ITALIAN IMMIGRANTS who journeyed to America. Without them, none of us would be here! Most Italian immigrants had a difficult adjustment to life in America after leaving Italy because of the difficulties there: poverty, overpopulation, bad soil to grow crops, natural disasters, few jobs, and illness. What led the immigrants on their journey and made them willing to tackle the challenges of the voyage across an ocean and the poor conditions they faced on the ships and in a new country? An article on shares:

"In the early years of the Italian migratory movement to
the U.S., our compatriots faced enormous levels of racial
discrimination, of solitude and of social isolation. It was to take
decades and decades of hard work to finally be accepted,
to finally become true citizens of their new Fatherland."
Photos courtesy Johnny Manna and Ray Alcaraz
Little Italy restaurants get creative ...
We asked around the neighborhood to see what some of the restaurants are creating as they finagle the pandemic ...

🇮🇹Joe Benny's Focacceria announced with "overwhelming excitement" the reopening of indoor seating 5:00-6:30pm and 6:30-8pm. "The entire joint is constantly sanitized and wiped down nightly. No menus or anything on the tables," said Joe Gardella, proprietor. JB's also continues with serving at two outdoor tables and carryout through its "Meatball Door." NEW is JB’s Bodega offering: pasta, sauce, olive oil, balsamic, wine, and beer. "We can’t wait to see your beautiful faces once again (with masks on, that is). For Italians, being around people, eating, drinking, sharing stories, laughing, being LOUD ... is all a part of our DNA. We need it or we are incomplete."

🇮🇹Amicci's is open daily with full menu for dine-in, outdoor dining, carryout/curbside pickup and delivery through Grubhub, Ubereats, DoorDash, and Postmates. Hours are Sunday thru Thursday 11am-9pm; Friday & Saturday 11am-10pm.

🇮🇹 Germano's Piattini says it will remain closed until the virus is contained. Besides, owners Germano & Cyd are busy assembling an art gallery and overseeing a mural painting on Slemmer's Alley! (photo story below)

🇮🇹 Ovenbird Bakery is warming you up for fall with its Pumpkin Swiss Roll and Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake, not to mention croissants, bagels and breakfast sandwiches. Purchase an Ovenbird totebag to haul away your baked goodies and get a free baguette or Italian loaf! Located in the former Mugs' Italian Bistro at the corner of Fawn & Exeter.

🇮🇹Isabella's Brick Oven Pizza is open for pickup and delivery through Grubhub, Postmates and Door Dash Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. A fixture in Little Italy for 15 years, they were featured recently on WMAR-2 TV. Watch here>>>

🇮🇹Cafe Gia has created La Piazza, a quaint outdoor dining space with trellises and flowers to welcome diners during the calm fall weather. Warm lighting, canopy sails and Italian music create the ambiance for your sumptuous Italian dinner experience. "And maybe, just maybe," they posted on their fb page, "you’ll be inclined to break into a Sicilian dance." Indoor seating and balcony seating also available. Watch a short video clip below.

🇮🇹 Sabatino's continues operating its twice weekly Sab's in the Suburbs and changes its delivery location around Baltimore County. Customers preorder then meet the Sabatino's van to pick up the food. "It's been great for us!" says manager Lisa Morekas. Next up is Wednesday, October 7th at Immaculate Heart of Mary, 8501 Loch Raven Blvd, Towson, 4-6 pm. View the Suburbs fall menu>>>

🇮🇹Chiapparelli's says, "Join us! We're now open for indoor and outdoor dining." All guests are required to wear a mask when entering the restaurant. Hand sanitizing stations are available throughout the restaurant and guests will be provided with disposable menus. Waitstaff wear face coverings. Reservations are limited to parties of six.

🇮🇹 Dalesio's of Little Italy is open daily 4-9pm. Their first floor offers open air dining and their second floor has balcony dining (pictured below). They offer carryout and local delivery with Postmates, have multiple newly-renovated dining rooms with socially distanced tables, and a new Wine by the Glass program. "But most importantly," says Paul Oliver, proprietor, "we are a proud sponsor of Our Daily Bread Catholic Charities casserole project." During the pandemic, Dalesio's volunteers and staff have served over 2,500 people.

🇮🇹Make your La Tavola Ristorante Italiano reservations for tonight, tomorrow, the next day or even for Sunday (yes, they are proud to be open again on Sundays!). Chef Carlo Vignotto is always cooking up some scrumptious special and says, "Don't worry about the weather if outdoor dining is a wash, we have three large dining rooms with plenty of socially distanced space for everyone!"

🇮🇹La Scala Ristorante Italiano has transformed their outdoor space into Il Giardino, a lovely garden (pictured below). Mercato La Scala offers a retail selection and will donate 10% of October sales to the March of Dimes in honor of Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month. Bravo, La Scala! Always thinking of how to give back to the community!
Nino Germano, chef/owner of La Scala Ristorante, created a garden for outdoor dining
Not ready to visit in person? Mangiare più tardi ... eat later.
Gift card purchases are a
great way to support your favorite family-owned Little
Italy restaurant.
click image to watch short
clip of Cafe Gia's outdoor dining
Dalesio's second floor balcony
"la tavola" means "the table" in Italian
around the neighborhood
'Five-Minute Histories' by
Baltimore Heritage highlights Baltimore's Little Italy

The vintage photo above depicts a wagon owned by Hilgartner Stone, still going strong after 100+ years. Baltimore had an enormous marble cutting operation and some of the earliest immigrants arrived in America on ships carrying Italian marble.
🇮🇹AIAC / Associated Italian American Charities of MD - AIAC's Annual Dinner Dance scheduled for November has been canceled. "We do so with a heavy heart and with a tremendous amount of disappointment," wrote Michael Gallerizzo in a letter to supporters and members. "However, our members, their families and friends, and the other loyal supporters of AIAC take precedence." AIAC donates to various Maryland charities each year.

🇮🇹ADVERTISING AVAILABLE IN ST. LEO'S BULLETIN - Prospective advertisers interested in placing an ad in St. Leo's bulletin can contact Steve Massien, LPi National Sales Executive, 330-714-2840, or visit

🇮🇹 LITTLE ITALY LODGE 2021 DUES ARE DUE - Members, please take the time to mail your $40 membership renewal payable to Little Italy Lodge OSIA#2286 to 905 E. Pratt Street, Little Italy/Baltimore, MD 21202, Attention: Membership. Considering becoming a member of the Little Italy Lodge? You'll be happy there. :D Membership fee is $65 for NEW members; send along with a completed application available on their website. "We continue to remain optimistic that there will be an upcoming Sunday Family Dinner soon," says Michael Castino, Little Italy Lodge president, "as we continue to monitor the City’s reopening guidelines to keep our members safe while bringing the LIL family back together." 🇮🇹
"We want Tony and his book to come home to Baltimore," said Jill Zacharie,
of Washington Book Distributors,
who is donating their stock to
Promotion Center for Little Italy.
Promotion Center for Little Italy, Baltimore greatly thanks Washington Book Distributors in Alexandria, Virginia who is donating 140 copies of the book, Baltimore's Own Little Italy Artist: The artwork of Tony DeSales, a gorgeous hardcover produced in 2003 by one of Tony's sisters, Rita DeSales French. The pages highlight the quirky and talented artist who stood on the corner in Little Italy sketching its scenes for 35 years, interacting with visitors from around the world. Once the books are delivered to our office, we will add them to our online Book Shop and they will be available for purchase at half off retail. Proceeds benefit our nonprofit organization.
This 24-story apartment and retail tower replaced Della Notte Restaurant 
at the corner of President Street and Eastern Avenue in Little Italy.
🇮🇹 The DEVELOPMENT OF 906 TRINITY STREET into an apartment building is underway. The building was demolished this week at the former site of Panino's Restaurant which has been closed for several decades. WRH Properties, who purchased the property, will build 40 one- and two-bedroom apartment units. Construction is expected to last for approximately 12 months.
🇮🇹 MADONNARI MURAL ALMOST COMPLETE - At 227 Slemmer's Alley in Little Italy, the Madonnari mural is coming along beautifully (pictured below), reports Cyd Wolf, Executive Producer of the Madonnari Arts Festival held in the neighborhood for the past five years. The mural is painted above the new yet-to-be-open Madonnari Gallery which will house a permanent exhibit dedicated to the art of the Madonnari and present exhibits of featured artists. As well, the Gallery will display art and antiques for purchase. (Slemmer's Alley is a block off President Street near Vaccaro's.)
Wolf's husband and business partner, Germano Fabiani, has painstakingly redeveloped what were two storage spaces, and before that - over 100 years ago - two houses on the alley once deemed "Monkey Row" because of the immigrant organ grinders who lived there with their live monkeys. "We kept as much of the original brickwork and the steel beams as possible and kept the floor unfinished on purpose," said Cyd. After the artist Michael Kirby is finished painting the mural, Cyd and Germano will set up shop. "We have a lot to do yet but it is feasible to open in November even if the exhibits are not fully completed."
blast from the past
"Doc Mamma Rosapepe" (seated center),
the only woman in this 1913 photo of 40 doctors,
was certainly ahead of her time.

"Apparently she was quite the mover and shaker of her time - participating in 'student uprisings' during the era of political unrest," said her granddaughter, Susan Rosapepe, who lives in Annapolis. "My grandparents lived with us growing up in Ohio before moving to the D.C. area and had their medical offices in our house. Nonna was a practicing physician and surgeon - rare for women in that day. My grandfather was the first Italian Consular Officer in the United States, and the doctor for the Mafia. I remember gunshot victims coming to the house in the middle of the night, even a bomb threat and near miss. I have a newspaper article detailing the event!"
book signings in Little Italy
More coming! Interested in setting up a book signing in
your Italian-related venue or organization?
🇮🇹 Vaccaro's 🇮🇹
222 Albemarle Street
Sat, October 24
2:00-5:00 pm
🇮🇹 Madonnari Gallery 🇮🇹
227 Slemmer's Alley
Sat, November 7
3:00-6:00 pm
🇮🇹 Vaccaro's 🇮🇹
222 Albemarle Street
Sat, December 12
1:30-5:30 pm
just for fun
A ogni uccello il suo nido è bello.

The closest meaning of this Italian proverb in English is "There's no
place like home." The literal translation from Italian, however,
is more poetic ... "To every bird, his own nest is beautiful."
Did you know you can choose Promotion Center for Little Italy as your charity of choice on your amazon account? Amazon will donate a % to us with each purchase.
wait, what? cannoli beer?
, that's right, you read correctly ... cannoli beer.
When 1623 Brewing approached Maria & Nick Vaccaro about making a cannoli beer, they said, "Sure, why not?" and the pastry duo provided the brewer with 200 pounds of cannoli shells. Here's the final product (nice can, sí,?) of the limited release Imperial Cannoli Pastry Stout. (You can't wait to taste it, right, cannoli lovers?)
from our e-mailbox
"Thank you for all of the terrific news and updates - it gives me great pride to read about Little Italy. I would love to see what can be done to have the Pelosi Street sign removed. To hear her smug commentary when the Columbus statue was toppled: 'People will do what they do.' Watching the statue under siege on July 4 was heartbreaking. My parents were at the [1984] dedication with President Reagan and it always gave me such pride as I passed the area. The reaction of national and city leaders is heart-wrenching."
~ Patrick C

"Awesome story about Gary M's lost school ring. I would not miss an issue, thanks for all the great information all the time."
~ Vincent Z

"To the man with the [St. Leo's] school ring. Let him know that our company possibly made his ring if he would like to bring it in and have it refurbished. We are Jenkins Ring Company located in Woodlawn. We used to be downtown back in the day."
~ Pamela B

"October is Italian Heritage Month! Let’s see how many residents of Little Italy and Italian Americans fly the Italian Flag! This would be a good start to show our colors and our spirit and our heritage. Mine will fly 24/7 through the month. The challenge is out there."
~ Lou M, Little Italy business owner

"I so miss the fabulous photos of activities Little Italy used to do which you reviewed in your newsletters. When I reviewed recent issues, I realized again how much we have lost because of COVID. Really sad." :-(
~ Doannie T

"Your newsletter is important for preserving Little Italy!"
~ Matt D, resident
"I learned about the book, Baltimore’s Little Italy, while doing research. I can relate to so many of the stories, having grown up in St. Louis with grandparents who arrived from Sicily in 1904. English was their secondary language and Sicilian was primarily spoken with my parents but not the children. I used to think it was to keep secrets (I still believe that) but I now know there were other reasons. We were taught to take great pride in our rich heritage, respect family, a strong work ethic, and to take pride in being American. However, there were some who were threatened by the strong Italian culture and preferred that it be pushed aside.
Baltimore's Little Italy is not unlike others throughout the U.S. - there was more to it than the local grocery stores, bakeries, gelato, vegetable vendors, etc. They were ethnic enclaves located in urban neighborhoods with a patron saint, a Catholic church at the center, festivals, community service, etc. As the book mentions, Presidents Reagan and Carter took time to visit. Why? Surely not only to go to a well-known restaurant.
The history of Little Italy is more than what most people know ... Little Italy is a model we need to pay more attention to. I strongly believe more needs to be shared about the Little Italy model as we go forward. Thanks again for a great book."

~ Vincenzo V in Colorado

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Director & Founder

Ray Alcaraz
Co-Founder & President

Celebrating 10 years! 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.