The Italian Market in South Philadelphia was packed with shoppers who were all packing their shopping bags with lots of fixins' for Christmas. "I have Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, fresh figs,” said one Italian Market shopper. She joined hundred heading to Isgro Pastries shop at 10th and Christian Street, like Maria from Las Vegas. "You can't visit...

Christmas is a wonderful holiday.  As I grew up, this was always evident and proven year after year in our loving Italian-American family. Most importantly was the religious aspect of Christmas, where we celebrated the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by attending mass and receiving Holy Communion. Our little church, Our Lady of Loreto, at...

“The Grinch came last night and stole Christmas from 9th Street,” said Amber Volpe. Volpe, with the Visitor’s Center at the Italian Market is referencing an incident that occurred December 15, just after 12:15 a.m. A man is seen in surveillance video walking away with a portion of the nativity scene near the intersection of 9th and Catharine Street...

La Panarda, a marathon meal at East Passyunk Avenue’s Le Virtu lasting more than 40 courses and nine hours, is back for its seventh year. The epic Southern Italian feast, which takes over the entire restaurant, is planned for Sunday, January 27, starting at noon. Le Virtu will begin accepting La Panarda reservations beginning Friday, December 7, at...

Philadelphia is full of small idiosyncratic museums, from the memorials to Thaddeus Kosciuszko and Edgar Allen Poe to the 70s-tastic displays of the Mummer Museum, from the aging scientific displays of the Wagner Free Institute of Science to the one-of-a-kind monuments to freedom at the National Liberty Museum. I discovered another weird little tre...

Even to the eyes of a 6-year-old, Frank Rizzo, the mayor of Philadelphia, was a presence. He stepped out of his car on Independence Mall one day in 1976, just in front of me, my sister, and a few Midwestern cousins. He looked down at us, extended his hand toward the heavens, and said “Hello, kids!” The Midwestern cousins had no idea who he was; I f...

There was only ever one George at the sandwich shop. But everyone who came after him at the storefront on Ninth Street has inherited his name, too. The original George, who came to America from Greece in 1908, slung tripe and veal and barbecued beef tongue sandwiches out of a butcher basement until 1936, when he opened George's Sandwich Shop. He pa...

Traditional South Philly Italian cooking lands in Rittenhouse starting Tuesday, Nov. 27 with the opening of Giuseppe & Sons (1523 Sansom St.), a joint project by Michael Schulson and his wife, Nina Tinari, along with the Termini Bros. pastry family. Next door to the Schulsons' Harp & Crown, it’s two restaurants in one. At 14,000 square feet, it’s...

John Romani figured there would be a lot of attention. He gets the appeal: He’s Italian, the son of a cop, a Philly native. “Mayor Rizzo was talked about on a daily, weekly basis in my house,” said the certified appraiser. Along with his mother, Romani has run Sales by Helen, a firm specializing in high-end estate sales, for 30 years. But they’ve n...

The life of Philadelphia filmmaker Robert Patriarca has been measured in cannoli. So, his audiences may find it hard to believe the 28-year-old Frankford native didn’t actually consume the Italian pastry until he was 14 years old. “We grew up without cannoli in our household,” he recently confided, while sitting amid copious amounts of the tube-sha...