Why Pittsburghers Love Italy

Oma H. Barnett

As a luxury travel advisor, I plan trips for clients to destinations all over the world. After years of booking trips throughout the globe, my favorite destination is by far Italy – the culture, the sights, the food, are all amazing. I have planned countless trips for Pittsburghers to Italy. My love for Italy and the Pittsburgh/Italy connection are driving factors into why I have become an Italy Travel Specialist. So, why do Pittsburghers love traveling to Italy so much?

If you are from Pittsburgh or have visited the area, you have experienced a city forged from a vast melting pot of cultures, one of the largest being Italian. In the 1800’s when Italian immigrants were settling in the states, Pittsburgh received the second highest number of immigrants in Pennsylvania. These settlers began to establish their new lives in neighborhoods such as Oakland, East Liberty, the Lower Hill District, and Bloomfield. Italian culture and cuisine was embraced by Italians and non-Italians throughout the city, and in many ways integrated into the Pittsburgh culture. Throughout the years, many of the Italians in Pittsburgh have intermingled with other cultures and have branched into the suburbs, but the culture of Italy remains a significant influence of the way of life in the Burgh.

You can find locally-owned Italian restaurants (Tambellini’s, La Tavola, Del’s), groceries (Labriolas, Sunseris, Pennsylvania Macaroni) and bakeries (Moios, Mancinis, Sanchioli Brothers) throughout the city, and some of the best Italian food in America. You can even enjoy authentic Italian cuisine from Lidia Bastianich, celebrity chef, who opened a Pittsburgh location of Lidia’s Italy in the Strip District in 2001. And though not Italian, Pittsburgh’s most famous sandwich, a mix of deli meat and cheese, coleslaw and French fries is served on our famous Mancini’s Italian bread, a nod to the Italian heritage of the city.

In addition to the food, you can enjoy a piece of Italy in Pittsburgh at the Italian Festival in Bloomfield, Pittsburgh’s Little Italy, or visit the Italian Room in Oakland’s Cathedral of Learning for additional history and customs.

Pittsburgh is truly a Mecca of Italian culture. It’s no wonder Pittsburghers love to travel to the Boot. Beyond its history, beautiful countryside, amazing food and wine, and family atmosphere, Pittsburghers can feel at home at a special place in Italy’s capital, Rome. La Botticella, a Roman Pittsburgh Bar, was founded by Giovanni Poggi as a simple bar. He soon realized that many Pittsburgh college students studying abroad would flock to his bar in hopes of seeing their beloved Steelers play on satellite television. Since then it grew into a full-fledged Steelers bar, and now follows Pittsburgh sports year round. It is a home away from home for any Pittsburgh native living or traveling to Italy.

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