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 Avenue Corridor in the City of Rochester, New York.  

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 & 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

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 Steering Committee & Owner, Burgos Properties

Lino Nobrega - Sr. Grid Manager, General Electric Corporation

Adam McFadden - Councilman, South District, City of Rochester, NY

Pamela Davis - Public Relations, Lyell-Otis Neighborhood Association

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

Julio Saenz - Director of PODER 97.1 FM Radio (IBERO)

Historical Narrative

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

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

Mission, Goals and Vision


Our mission is to commemorate the rich history of the Rochester area's 150 year-old "Little Italy Historic District", located along the Lyell Avenue corridor, and to promote revitalization, development, preservation and restoration of the historic district and its surrounding area. We hope to help attract new investment to the area (both private and public), which would create jobs, help alleviate poverty, and help transform the area into a safe, vibrant, and sustainable 21st-century urban neighborhood.  We would like to help generate the rebirth of the Lyell Corridor, so that it becomes an attractive business and cultural center, and a revived destination place, after suffering many years of de-urbanization, urban blight and neglect.  Our hope is that our efforts will not only commemorate the history of the area, but will also work to create a new and valuable "economic driver" for the region, which will attract business investment; create jobs; help alleviate poverty; help fill the area's vacant properties; reduce crime; increase home ownership opportunities; and provide educational, sport, tourism, culinary and recreational opportunities for people of all ages.   

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 its current state of affairs directly affects neighboring projects that both the City and State have heavily invested in, 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, by raising funds to benefit children and the elderly, as well as the hungry, poor, needy, abused and homeless, served by other local 501(c)(3) charities. 


We are committed to promoting revitalization and economic development along the Lyell Corridor, while also encouraging 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 the district area and Upstate NY. We will promote and generate regional tourism, and we are driven by our motivation to revitalize the Lyell Corridor, and our vision to create a safe, vibrant and sustainable community benefit district, for all to enjoy together, as a true historic treasure of Rochester.   

Our goals include the following:   

1) Welcoming & 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 within the community and region; 7) Promoting cultural exchange, information-sharing, and most importantly diversity, warmth 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 help enrich the lives of all Rochesterians and those who visit the area.  Our vision is for a safe, inclusive and family-oriented community benefit district; which acts as a cultural epicenter; an economic dirver for the area; and a vibrant new destination place for the entire community to celebrate and enjoy.    

The Rochester area is ranked second only to Staten Island in NY State, and ninth in the entire nation, with regard to its sheer number of Italian-Americans; but oddly enough, with the exception of local food establishments, the Italian-American community's cultural events and programs have been 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 Italian people and community 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!  An exciting Little Italy Festival is planned for June 16, 2018, at Capelli Sports Stadium, where we will celebrate 150 YEARS of Italian American History in the City of Rochester! (1868 - 2018)

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!

Donate to Help Our Cause

Your kind support and contributions will help us meet our goals and fund our mission. Donations are tax deductible.  Donate here to support the Little Italy Association's efforts.  Thank you for your kind support!

Pay with PayPal or a debit/credit card

Little Italy Festival

Award-winning event each year!

Ranked 2nd Best Cultural Festival of Rochester for 2017 by the readers of City Newspaper.  The festival has regularly received proclamations and strong support each year from town, city, county, state and federal-level officials, and in 2016 received "Special Congressional Recognition." 

Top-notch Headline Entertainment!

Year after the year, the festival is proud to bring top-notch headline entertainment to Rochester. Headliners have included national artists like Lou Gramm (the voice of legendary rock band Foreigner), the Scintas (Las Vegas' "first family of entertainment"), Sal Valentinetti (from the hit TV show "American's Got Talent") & many more.

Raised thousands to benefit needy!

The festival has raised thousands of dollars to benefit the needy served by local charities, such as Alternatives for Battered Women, House of Mercy, Open Door Mission, Catholic Charities, MDA and the Ronald McDonald House. 

Attended by thousands each year!

The festival is regularly attended by thousands of people each year, with exciting demographics, ranging from teenagers to 65+ individuals, and offering sponsors a very attractive marketing opportunity, and credible return on investment. The event draws both local area sponsors and international big-name corporations each year. Click on the crowd image above, to be brought to the Little Italy Association's Facebook page, to see many more images and videos of the festival. 2018 marks the festival's 5th Anniversary!

Great Food & Family Fun!

The festival presents a truly wide variety of food and family-oriented activities each year, for both children and adults, representing the rich diversity and inclusiveness of the Rochester area's 150 year-old Little Italy neighborhood.  The event has included bounce houses, carnival rides and games for kids, bocce, wine-tastings, cooking demonstrations, and even a very fun spaghetti eating contest, and it offers attendees much more than an Italian festival -- making the Little Italy Fest one of Rochester's most popular multi-cultural "neighborhood celebrations". 

Uplifting Rochester & Little Italy!

The festival acts as a vital part of the exciting effort to commemorate and revitalize Rochester's 150 year-old Little Italy Historic District and the Lyell Avenue/Jay Street Corridor.  By helping bring people and neighborhood activity to Downtown Rochester and this long-neglected neighborhood area, the festival plays an important part of the overall effort to change the perception of the area, and help make it safe, attractive and inviting again, and it serves as a catalyst in the effort to revitalize and transform the area into a hip, inclusive, welcoming and sustainable 21st Century urban neighborhood.


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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.

P.O. Box 24305, Rochester, NY 14624

Email: info@LittleItalyROC.com