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17 Anniversary
2003
17
2020

Italian Market

Posted on Friday, May 16, 2014
The last of Philly’s curb markets runs through the heart of South Philadelphia.
 
The History
Today the curb market that runs along South 9th street in South Philadelphia is known to most as the “Italian Market.” While the market has long served those within the Italian community in Philadelphia, over the course of its long history, the market has served many communities.  When the market started in the late 19th century, the neighborhood surrounding the market had significant Jewish, African American, and Italian populations and the market served them all.
 
Italian Market Produce Stand
 
Heading into the 20th Century, the neighborhood was growing and becoming more heavily influenced by the growing Italian immigrant population.  The neighborhood surrounding the market even became known as Bella Vista, Italian for “beautiful sight.”  As the neighborhood changed the Market changed to suit the needs of its nearby residents.  By 1915, a group of second generation Italian Americans organized a business association to support the many Italian Americans with businesses in the curb market. The Market was always a diverse place, however and even during this time Eastern European, Lebanese, and Asian immigrants had a presence in the area, and thus a presence within the market. 
 
By the end of the 20th Century the area surrounding the market had become much more diverse and so did the market, with many Vietnamese, Korean, and Mexican shops entering the market.  Today, the Italian Market remains a center of the Italian American community in Philadelphia today and consists of primarily Italian American owned business and shops.
 
What to See
As an outdoor curb market, the Italian Market still serves the same primary purpose as it did a century ago; it is the place where thousands of people living in the surrounding area go to buy food.  Fishmongers, butchers, cheesemongers, bakeries, and lots of produce stands line the market offering some of the freshest food in Philadelphia. At the same time however, the area also offers plenty of exciting destinations for tourists.
 
Di Bruno Bros at the Italian Market
 
The Italian Market has plenty of dining options.  Famous tourist destinations Pat’s and Geno’s sell their cheesesteaks at the southern tip of the market and restaurants of all different styles and designed to fit all different budgets line the street.  Along with restaurants, there are also a number of cafes with outdoor seating. Also nearby is Isgros Pasticceria which has been in business for over a century and some consider their cannoli’s to be the best in the entire city. 
 
Insider Tips
A trip to the Italian Market is best with as little planning as possible.  The market represents roughly half a mile of possibilities and the best thing to do is take an enjoyable walk and explore.  You never know what you may discover.
 
How to Get There
Guests of The Constitutional Walking Tour and The Constitutional Bus Tour of Philadelphia can enjoy a scenic walk to the Market from the National Constitution Center where both tours begin and end.  By traveling directly south on 6th Street guests can walk through historic society hill before heading west on South Street and then continuing south on 9th Street.  The market begins in earnest after Christian Street and then continues down 9th Street.  While this walk will take roughly half an hour, it is a wonderful walk through great neighborhoods in Philadelphia.
 
Guests can also take multiple Septa bus routes to the Italian Market including the 47 bus, which travels down 7th Street, just two blocks away from the market.
 
Those planning on driving can find street parking within the vicinity of the market.  However be sure to check all relevant signs before parking, some streets have parking for residents only and others require paying a meter or parking kiosk.  There are also a few parking lots within the vicinity of the market.
 
Hours
Most stalls within the market operate from 8AM – 4PM, hours for businesses vary.
 
Additional Information
919 South 9th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147
215.278.2903
 
 
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