Welcome to the Little Italy Association and Little Italy Historic District

About Us

The Little Italy Association

The Little Italy Association is a NY State 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and registered public charity.  It  has the consent of the NY State Attorney General to act as a district  management corporation, and to undertake efforts to commemorate and revitalize the Little Italy Historic District,  located along the Lyell  Avenue Corridor in the City of Rochester, NY.  Donations  made to the Little Italy Neighborhood Association, Inc., are tax  deductible, and help fund our organization's mission, goals and cause, as detailed below. 


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

Franklin D'Aurizio - Board Secretary and Attorney at Law

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 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)

Rochester's Little Italy has over 150 Years of History!

Please  see the "Downloads" section of this website, 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, 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, Golas and Vision


Our  mission is to commemorate the rich history of Rochester'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 areas.  We hope to help attract new investment to the area  (both public funding and private investment), which would help create new jobs and help alleviate poverty in this struggling and long-neglected area of Rochester. Our mission is to help facilitate the transformation of 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. The Lyell area has suffered from many years of de-urbanization, urban blight, poverty and  neglect.  Our hope is that our efforts will not only commemorate the history of the area, but also lead to changing the negative perception of the area. We are working hard to help bring about a new "economic driver" for the Upstate NY region, which will potentially attract new business investment to the area; create jobs; help alleviate poverty; help fill the area's vacant properties; reduce crime; increase home ownership opportunities;address the public realm issues of the area, and ultimately provide new educational, sport, tourism, culinary and recreational  opportunities for people of all ages, who live in or visit the area. 


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, such as the planned $500 Million ROC the Riverway project, the High Falls District, the Genesee Brewery, the planned Greentopia Eco-District, and the new MCC student campus operating right next door, 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 and facilitating 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 history & 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 its surrounding areas, and driven by our vision to create a  safe, vibrant and sustainable "community benefit district" in the area, 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 Little Italy  Federal Credit Union; an authentic Italian Café and Retail Market, which would feature coffee, beverages, and walkable access to fresh foods from across the globe; an arts theatre and conference center; and a new Little Italy Newsletter to be published quarterly, with updates on the area's exciting events and store openings, among many other interesting initiatives that could help create greater prosperity in the area, and help enrich the lives of all Rochesterians and those who  visit the area.  Our vision is for a safe, inclusive and family-oriented district; which acts as a cultural epicenter 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 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" for 2017 in the City of Rochester, by the community and readers of City Newspaper, and it was  the first major Italian Festival and Little Italy "neighborhood celebration" 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 plan to celebrate 150 years of Italian American History in the City of Rochester! (1868 - 2018)

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

Please follow our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages: @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. Donations are tax deductible.  Donate here to support the  Little Italy Association's efforts.  

Thank you for your kind support!

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