Cleveland's Little Italy neighborhood, located on Mayfield Road, just south of Euclid Avenue, developed in the late 19th century, fueled by scores of immigrants that came to the area to work as stone-cutters for nearby Lake View Cemetery and to work in clothing factories.
Early residents included Joseph Carabelli, who donated the land for Holy Rosary Church and helped to found Alta House, a charitable organization that still thrives.
Today, Clevelanders of Italian descent are located all over the city, but Little Italy retains that "Old World" flavor with restaurants, art galleries, and the popular "Feast of the Assumption" festival each August.
About Cleveland's Little Italy
You can start a walking tour at Tony Brush Park, located at Mayfield and Random Roads, just past the viaduct from University Circle. There's limited parking on the streets and in a public lot off of Mayfield, just north of the park.
Tony Brush Park
Tony Brush Park, located at the intersection of Random and Mayfield Rds., is one of the newer additions to Little Italy. This green space development features a playground, a baseball diamond, lots of benches, and a basketball court. The park is named for the champion boxer and Little Italy resident, Anthony Brescia (AKA Tony Brush).
Holy Rosary Church
Holy Rosary Church, on Mayfield Road, is the literal and figurative heart of Cleveland's Little Italy community. The Baroque church, founded in 1892, still celebrates mass daily and offers a variety of services for parishioners and residents. Holy Rosary no longer has a grade school associated with it but does support a Montessori school for younger students. The fun Taste in Little Italy event is a fundraiser for the school.
The church is also the organizer of the annual Feast of the Assumption, held each August, a popular event that successfully combines the secular with religious celebration.
Corbo's Dolceria, located near the corner of Mayfield and Murray Hill Roads, is a delight for all of the senses. The store draws you in from the street with its enticing smells and captivates you with its beautiful displays.
The family-owned bakery is known for its traditional cassata cakes, a yellow cake with strawberry filling between the layers. Also available are cookies, pies, pepperoni bread, and a host of other goodies.
Guarino's, located on Mayfield Road just south of Murray Hill Road, is the oldest continually operating restaurant in Cleveland. Opened in 1918, the restaurant specializes in southern Italian cuisine, with veal dishes and hearty pasta. In the summer, Guarino's has a spacious and inviting patio behind the building.
Little Italy Galleries
There are several dozen galleries along Murray Hill and Mayfield Roads. You'll find galleries featuring ceramics, paintings, glass art, photography, and an eclectic mixture of new and old. Watch for an Art Walk weekend in Little Italy when over 100 artists exhibit their creations and you can walk your way through three days of great art and fine gifts.
Walking the streets of Little Italy is a delight. Grand Victorian homes stand adjacent to brick storefronts with apartments upstairs.
Many buildings have small gardens and courtyards that are best admired by touring the neighborhood on foot. Stroll down Murray Hill Road, between Mayfield and Cornell, for a good sampling.