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Bring your appetite if you’re coming to Bella Vista, for it is the land of salumeria, cheeses, fresh pasta and several notable bakeries. For good measure, plan on having excellent Vietnamese and Mexican food, too. As the oldest Italian neighborhood in Philadelphia, Bella Vista is home to the bustling and rather famous Italian Market (hit 9th Street between Christian and Washington), a hot-and-getting-hotter restaurant scene and plenty of corner cafés, all of which make this charming area Philadelphia’s very own Little Italy of sorts.
This mostly rowhouse neighborhood is well into gentrification. For about 10 years, young home buyers priced out of other neighborhoods have found the area and its sense of community to their liking. If you visit, you’ll notice much new construction and renovation taking place, adding some newer condominiums to the housing stock — some of this new construction tops $1,000,000 per unit. Restaurants beyond traditional “red gravy” joints (most South Philadelphians call tomato sauce “gravy”) have sprung up along with coffee shops and boutiques, which is not to say the neighborhood has lost its heritage. Play bocce at Bardascino Park, walk the dog to Cianfrani Park or a few other pocket parks. It’s a place where the senior citizens who built the neighborhood “keep an eye on things,” and in turn, younger residents add fresh energy to the area.
Home prices in Bella Vista have been increasing at a very robust clip, with a median price hovering around $448,000 and prices up about 11% on average compared to 2016, according to multiple-listing-service data.
If you’ve had your fill of meats, cheeses and produce at the Italian Market, Bella Vista is home to the world-renowned Fleisher Art Memorial. This unique building provides space for art classes and a distinguished collection of contemplative and religious art and objects and is well worth a visit if you are in the neighborhood.
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