It is estimated that there are around 300,000 Italians living in London, making it one of the largest Italian communities in the world outside of Italy.
Italian immigrants have been coming to London for many years, and the city has a long history of Italian influence on its culture, food, and arts.
There are several areas in London that are known for their Italian communities, including Clerkenwell, Kilburn, and Soho.
These areas are home to many Italian shops, restaurants, and cafes, and host a variety of Italian cultural events throughout the year.
Where Is The Biggest Italian Community In London?
Little Italy, also known as the Italian Hill or Italian Quarter, is a neighborhood in London bounded by Clerkenwell Road, Farringdon Road, and Roseberry Avenue.
Clerkenwell in the borough of Islington is often referred to as “London’s Little Italy” due to its history as a hub for Italian immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The area is known for its Italian restaurants, cafes, and delis, and hosts an annual Italian festival, “Clerkenwell Italian Procession”, which attracts thousands of visitors.
It was previously home to tens of thousands of working-class Italians – perhaps 12,000 in 1895, according to the Italian Consulate – and although the population has decreased, a sizeable number still resides there.
The cultural relics and tales of these Italians are still audible in this central London neighborhood today.
What Is The History Of The Italian Community In London?
Since the mid-19th century, this section of Clerkenwell has been home to an Italian community.
In a report dated 1895, the Italian consul estimated that there were approximately 12,000 Italians in the region.
According to the 2011 census, approximately 5% of Camden Borough’s citizens are Italian.
Clerkenwell extends over Camden Borough and Islington Borough, with Saffron Hill and the Italian Church on the Camden side and eastern Westminster Borough as part of the Little Italy neighborhood.
It is estimated that over 300,000 people of Italian descent currently reside in London.
There are 14,000 Italians in Camden Borough, 3,000 Italians in Islington, and 4,000 Italians in Westminster.
What Does Little Italy Looks Like?
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, areas like Clerkenwell and Soho were known for their narrow, winding streets and tightly packed buildings, many of which were constructed in the Italianate style, with decorative features like arched windows, ornate cornices, and balconies.
These buildings often housed Italian businesses, such as cafes, shops, and social clubs, and were adorned with Italian flags, posters, and other symbols of Italian identity.
In the early 20th century, Clerkenwell witnessed significant changes, including slum clearance, substantial infrastructure overhauls, property development, and the overall terrorization of blue-collar workers.
Less of Little Italy’s Italian influence derives from the original immigrants of the 19th century than from new arrivals or those attempting to sell a taste of the Italian lifestyle to Londoners with an insatiable thirst for it.
Today, while the architecture and layout of these areas may have changed somewhat, they still retain a strong sense of Italian culture and heritage, with a variety of Italian shops, restaurants, and cultural institutions.
Visitors to these areas can expect to find narrow, bustling streets, colorful buildings, and a lively atmosphere, with the sounds of Italian music, the aromas of Italian cuisine, and the sight of Italian flags and symbols on display.