Midwest Living Review
If the Soulard neighborhood is the New Orleans of St. Louis, then The Hill is its Little Italy. The area is a step back in time, with neighborhood restaurants, bakeries and stores intermingled with box-shape houses boasting tiny porches, Italian flags and postage-stamp yards. It's not hard to imagine baseball greats Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola growing up on its streets; it probably looks much like it did when they were kids. If you're coming to The Hill these days, it's for one thing: the food. Not only are there dozens of authentic Italian restaurants here -- with names such as Cunetto House of Pasta and Lorenzo's Trattoria -- you'll also find bakeries selling fresh-made bread, cannoli and biscotti; grocery stores laden with imported olive oils, sauces, pasta, cookies and wine; and delis selling dozens of varieties of salami, sausage and cheese. The area was settled in the 1830s by Italian immigrants lured to St. Louis to work in area clay pits. One of the neighborhood's largest structures is St. Ambrose Catholic Church, which was built in 1926 and modeled after Sant'Ambrogio Church in Milan. Outside it you will find The Italian Immigrants statue, an icon that has become emblematic of the area history. The old Italian game of bocce -- lawn bowling -- is still played here, kept alive by restaurants that offer "bocce gardens." The Hill is also known for the professional bike race it sponsors every September.