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Philadelphia’s southern neighborhood (known as South Philly) is home to the second largest Italian-American population in the country, and a number of iconic Italian restaurants like Ralph’s and Villa Di Roma. Equally revered, the century-plus old South 9th Street Italian Market Festival celebrates the neighborhood’s rich heritage.

Head to South Philly on May 21st and 22nd for two days of food, crafts, and culture “Italiano” style.

POP-UP PIAZZA  

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Image via Flickr

At the nation’s oldest continuously operating outdoor market, the neighborhood shuts down streets to traffic and 70,000 visitors roam the shops and stalls that spill onto the sidewalks. Revelry, food and drinks, music, and strolling shoppers create a jovial and relaxed atmosphere.  The festive weekend is a chance to experience an outdoor market like those in Rome or Venice right in in the heart of Philly. Head to 9th Street between Fitzwater and Federal streets for the entertainment.

TASTE OF ITALY

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Image via babesinfoodland

Food is a staple of Italian culture, and the flavors of the local Italian-American community fill the six blocks lined with vendors. Arrive hungry, because all your favorites will be on hand.

There’s nothing like grabbing a roast pork and provolone sandwich, walking by the smokey smell of sausage with pepper and onions, and finishing a meal with a cannoli or gelato from Anthony’s Italian Coffee House. Other authentics like pizza, tiramisu topped with mini Italian flags, and olives and cheeses will be on hand as well. Nearby restaurants will also extend their table service to the sidewalk, so you can dine alfresco in the festival fun.

SHOP LIKE AN ITALIAN

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Image via Von Hertzog

When you’ve had your fill of the delicious local fare, stroll the many vendors that line the curbs. Specialty butchers, cheesemakers, and gift shops are great places to look for souvenirs like Philly-themed art and home decor, hand-rolled cigars, or quirky records and books at Molly’s Book and Record Shop. Edible goods like high-quality olive oil and vintage Italian wines are also discounted at good deals. Artisans peddle a variety of handmade wares, photographs, pottery, silks, and artwork as well.

Cover Image via yolahugo