To many St. Louisans, “The Hill” is an Italian neighborhood known for its nationally acclaimed restaurants, specialty groceries and bakeries, tiny “shotgun” houses and fire hydrants proudly painted green, white and red, the colors of the Italian flag. Yet this image just touches the surface, for this 50 square block area in South St. Louis is not merely one of the city’s few ethnic neighborhoods, but among its most stable, tightly woven communities.
Though the Hill is no longer the isolated enclave it once was, it has retained a loyalty and cohesiveness that goes beyond the fire hydrants, the annual Columbus Day parade, and the many popular restaurants and specialty stores that dot the neighborhood. This is still a place where childhood friends meet for lunch, where most people know all of their neighbors and where businesses have been operated by the same families for generations.
While the Hill retains is historic ethnic character it welcomes newcomers and visitors as a vital part of its continuity.