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The Hill: A Taste of Italy

The Hill Di Gregorio's St. Louis CVB

Courtesy St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission

Di Gregorio's is known for its Italian products such as olives, cheese and wine—purchase items from the store or from the red-white-and-green pushcart!

St. Louis has a very rich history of Italian immigration that began in the late 1800s and continued for the next 50 years. Many of these newcomers worked in clay mines near the highest point of the city and began to build a neighborhood of shotgun houses near the mines. Today, the area known as the Hill is one of the best places in the nation to appreciate Italian cuisine, products and hospitality.

The Hill is a 50-block area, with rough boundaries of Northrup to the north, Kingshighway to the east, Southwest and Columbia to the south and Hampton to the west. This neighborhood is an easy 15-minute drove from downtown St. Louis, and it’s a wonderful daytime or evening destination.

The Hill is very pedestrian-friendly and visitors can easily walk from shop to shop, restaurant to restaurant. Most restaurants and shops are family-owned, and most were established in the 1950s and 1960s. These establishments are now run by second and third generations of the original families, keeping the historic community very closely knit. In restaurants, you’ll find some of the servers and bartenders are descendents of previous servers and bartenders that have worked there in years past.

Sports fanatics will love the Hill’s contributions to professional sports; Yogi Berra, Joe Garagiola and Jack Buck all grew up in the neighborhood. And, many of the 1950s U.S. soccer team that won the World Cup match against England, the team expected to win the entire tournament, also hailed from the Hill.

Day trips to the Hill are packed with artisan shopping for all types of Italian products: meats, cutlery, soaps, bakeries and more! Bertarelli Cutlery is a chef’s dream, as you can bring your knives and have them professionally sharpened. Urzi’s on Southwest Avenue is a favorite market for homemade salsiccia and bread. Di Gregorio’s and J. Viviano & Sons are must-stops for Italian products such as olives, cheeses and wine. Don’t leave the Hill without indulging in a sweet treat at Gelato Di Riso.

The Hill is also a St. Louis favorite dining destination for both couples and families. Zia’s and Rigazzi’s are Hill staples and are appropriate for families or a date. Bartolino’s was established in 1969 and is still a renowned restaurant in the area. Ask any St. Louis resident and they’ll also point you to Charlie Gitto’s and Cunetto House of Pasta. There are so many legendary and true Italian restaurants on the Hill that diners will have an authentic experience wherever they eat.

Feeling overwhelmed with the Hill’s choices? Take a tour of the Hill! Joe DeGregorio is one of the Hill’s most famous tour guides and will customize a tour based on your group’s interests.

Spill It: Tell Us What You Think!

Kate McLaughlin
The Hill is a special place known for it's Italian heritage and centered around St. Ambrose Catholic Church.
7/8/2011 4:07:04 PM

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