Atwells Avenue at Federal Hill
Amos Maine Atwells is the man behind the illustrious Atwells Avenue. In 1778, Atwells, in partnership with other businessmen, started the development of the real estate. This ultimately shaped the face of Providence’s center, Federal Hill, which used to separate the two Indian tribes of Narragansett and Wampanoag. During the 1900s, there was an influx of Italian immigrants in the area, and as a result, Federal Hill was dubbed “Little Italy”. One of the major thoroughfares of Federal Hill is Atwells Avenue. With its over twenty restaurants, Atwells Avenue is definitely the place to be for food fans. The wide variety of offerings from Asian to Italian to eclectic contemporary cooking is sure to leave even the pickiest food connoisseur well-satisfied. Chef Ho’s Chinese Restaurant, the New Garden Restaurant and the Thailand Restaurant brings the flavors of Asia to Federal Hill.
Fine Italian cuisine is available in Andino’s, Blue Grotto, Toscano Antico Ristorante, Joe Marzilli’s Old Canteen, L’epicureo, Angelo’s Civita Farnese, La Campagniola and the popular Cassarino’s restaurant. Other restaurants include Leon’s on the West Side, Merola’s Omelets, Smith’s Restaurant, Shula’s 347 Grill, Siena Restaurant, Walter’s La Locanda Del Coccio, and Don Jose Tequilas Restaurant. The wealth of restaurants along Atwells Avenue is partly due to its proximity to the Johnson and Wales University. Known for its extensive culinary program, the university is able to attract talented chefs who often also work for the many restaurants nearby. In addition to the abundance of food, residents and visitors of Federal Hill may also enjoy the picturesque parks along Atwells Avenue of which there are three. They are the Garibaldi Square, the DePasquale Plaza, and St. John’s Park, which marks the former location of St. John’s Church.
The Garibaldi Square is a tribute to Federal Hill’s large American-Italian community. The square’s main feature is a monumental bust of one of the popular heroes of the Italian Unification, Giuseppe Garibaldi. Because of his feats of courage and patriotic dedication, Garibaldi has been awarded the title the “Hero of Two Worlds”. The DePasquale Plaza is right at the heart of Federal Hill. The Plaza has alfresco coffee shops and bistros under the comfortable shade of trees. The landscaping and delightful water features also contribute to the relaxing, almost soothing, atmosphere. The DePasquale Plaza is probably the best place in Providence to spend a slow, lazy afternoon while sipping a steaming cup of espresso.
After taking in the sights, scents, sounds and, especially, tastes Atwells Avenue has to offer, visitors may retreat to a number of hotels in Federal Hill. Most of which exude a feel and unique charm of the old country. These hotels include the Federal Hill Bed and Breakfast and the Scarborough Fare Bed and Breakfast.