Little Italy Association

Welcome to the Little Italy Association and Little Italy Historic District

About Us


The Little Italy Neighborhood Association, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and public charity registered in NY State.  It has the consent of the NY State Attorney General to act as a district management corporation, and undertake efforts to commemorate and revitalize the Little Italy Historic District,  located along the Lyell Ave Corridor, in the City of Rochester, NY.  

Donations made to the Little Italy Neighborhood Association, Inc., are tax deductible, and help fund our mission, goals, and cause, as a public charity. 


Silvano D. Orsi - Chairman and President, Little Italy Association

Franklin D'Aurizio - Board Secretary and Attorney at Law

Sandra Frankel - Former Supervisor, Town of Brighton, NY

Scott Fiske - Sr. Achitect, Pardi Partnership Architects

Molly Clifford - Councilwoman NW District, City of Rochester

Ron Penders - NSC Administrator NW Quadrant, City of Rochester

Larry Francer - Director of Preservation, Landmark Society of WNY

Maria Furgiuele - Exec. Director, Community Design Center (CCDR)

Rob Fornataro - Sr. Architect, SWBR Firm and Board Member at CCDR

Roberto Burgos - La Marketa and La Avenida Steering Committee Member, and Owner of Burgos Properties, LLC

Lino Nobrega - Sr. Grid Manager, General Electric Corporation

Adam McFadden - Councilman, South District, City of Rochester

Pamela Davis - Public Relations, Lyell-Otis Neighborhood Association

Dorraine Kirkmire - Manager of Planning, City of Rochester, NY

Historical Narrative

Please see the Downloads section below, for a PDF version of a detailed "Historical Narrative" about the Italian-American community's over 150 year history of Settlement and Migration along the Lyell Avenue Corridor, and for a "Map" of the proposed Little Italy Historic District of Rochester, NY.

Also in the Downloads section below, is a PDF version of City of Rochester Historian Blake McKelvey's work, entitled: "The Italians of Rochester, an Historical Review", describing the period from around 1860 - 1960.

Mission, Goals and Vision


The Little Italy Association's mission is to commemorate, in an inclusive manner, the rich history of the Rochester area's 150 year-old "Little Italy Historic District", located along the Lyell Avenue and Jay Street Corridor, and to develop a "Little Italy Welcome Center" in Downtown Rochester, which will provide access to programs and services for  area residents, visitors, and the greater Rochester community, as well as acess to special programs, information, and services for immigrants and new arrivals of all cultures, as they seek to integrate and settle in the Rochester area.

Our aim is to utilize the very important historic district designation to promote revitalization, development, preservation and restoration of the historic district and its surrounding areas, while also working to attract investment (from both private and public sources), to help transform the area into a safe, vibrant and sustainable 21st-century urban neighborhood; creating a new and attractive destination place, and a thriving "community benefit district", which benefits all cultures and the entire community.  

Our hope is that our efforts will not only commemorate the rich history of the area, but will also work to create a new and valuable "economic driver" for Rochester and the Upstate NY region, which will attract investment; create jobs; help alleviate poverty; help fill the area's vacant properties; increase home ownership; and provide educational and recreational opportunities for people of all ages, while also bringing greater prosperity to the Lyell Corridor, the greater Rochester area, and the Upstate NY region.   

The Lyell Avenue Corridor is a primary North West Gateway into the City of Rochester, which ushers-in many thousands of people each day into Downtown Rochester. The area is ripe for revitalization and investment, and after more than 30 years of neglect, its current state of affairs affects neighboring and directly adjacent projects that both the City and State have heavily invested in, and that we as well wish to see succeed, such as the High Falls, Genesee Brewery, Greentopia Eco-District, and the new MCC student campus operating right next door to Little Italy, at Kodak on State Street.

Our mission also includes helping the less fortunate people of our community, with programs and services that benefit the poor and needy, and with charitable events, which raise funds to benefit children and the elderly, as well as the hungry, abused and homeless, served by other 501(c)(3) charities. 


We are committed to promoting economic development along the Lyell Ave Corridor in Rochester, NY, while also encouraging revitalization, preservation and restoration, with our partners at the Landmark Society of WNY, the City of Rochester, and New York State. We will work diligently to promote the rich cultural diversity of Upstate NY; regional tourism; and all of our programs and services, as well as exciting recreational and educational opportunities. We are driven by our motivation to revitalize an area of the Lyell Corridor, and transform it into a  safe, vibrant and sustainable district, for all to enjoy.   

Our goals include the following:   

1) Welcoming and attracting new business, housing and retail investment;   

2) Helping create jobs and promoting greater economic prosperity;   

3) Raising funds for the poor, needy, hungry, homeless and less fortunate;   

4) Helping alleviate poverty through economic development, job training, and by promoting entrepreneurship and educational opportunities;   

5) Promoting recreational, cultural, sport and culinary opportunities;   

6) Fostering unity, solidarity and collaboration in the community and region; 7) Promoting cultural exchange, information-sharing, and inclusiveness.   


Our longer-term vision foresees some very exciting developments, such as a new downtown Little Italy Welcome Center; a potential Little Italy Federal Credit Union; an authentic Italian Café and Retail Market that would feature coffee, beverages and foods from across the globe; an arts theatre and conference center; and a new Little Italy Newsletter, among many other interesting initiatives that could help create greater prosperity and enrich the lives of all Rochesterians and those who visit the area.  

Our vision is for a hip, safe, modern, inclusive and family-oriented district; an international cultural epi-center; and a vibrant new destination place, for all to celebrate and enjoy together, as a true historical treasure of Rochester.     

The Rochester area is ranked second only to Staten Island in NY State, and ninth in the entire nation, with regard to its number of Italian-Americans; but strangely enough, with the exception of our local Italian food establishments, the Italian-American community's cultural events and programs have been virtually absent from Downtown Rochester for many years.  

The Italian culture is now flourishing again in Rochester, with a number of new arrivals expected. Many other new cultures are also migrating to the Rochester area, and they utilize the same Lyell Avenue Corridor as a place to first settle into when they arrive. They seek the American Dream just as the Italians did for over 150 years and still do even to this day.    

A fantastic "Little Italy Festival" was held on August 12 & 13, 2017, which demonstrated the strength of the local Italian-American community. It was ranked as one of the top two "Best Cultural Festivals" in the City of Rochester, by the readers of City Newspaper, and it was the first major Italian Festival to be held in Downtown Rochester in over 30 years!  

Our hope is that all those who collaborate with our humble association, and all those who participate in our exciting events and programs, feel the true warmth and friendship of the Italian-American people and culture.


Please like and follow our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, accessible via the icons displayed below on this website, (@LittleItalyROC), for updates about our exciting programs and future events.    

Thank you sincerely for your kind support!

Help Our Cause

Your kind support and contributions will help us meet our goals and fund our mission. Your generous donations are fully tax deductible. Thank you!

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Contact Us

Drop us a line!

Better yet, see us in person!

We love our supporters, so please feel free to write us, to arrange a visit or meeting, during normal business hours.

Little Italy Neighborhood Association, Inc.

PO Box 24305, Rochester, NY 14624

Tel: (585) 478-9494 | Email:



9:00 am – 5:00 pm


9:00 am – 5:00 pm


9:00 am – 5:00 pm


9:00 am – 5:00 pm


9:00 am – 5:00 pm


9:00 am – 5:00 pm