Covering just one square mile, the North End is the oldest neighborhood in the city of Boston and is one of the most popular. It is bounded by Atlantic Avenue, the Rose Kennedy Greenway, and Commercial Street, which lies alongside the Boston Harbor waterfront.
While the neighborhood has been home to many different cultural groups over its 300-year existence, the area has been an Italian enclave since their immigration here in the 1880's. The Italians have made the North End the geographic and symbolic heart of their community in the city of Boston.
The area was referred to as "the cradle of liberty" by Paul Revere, Sam Adams, John Hancock and other famous faces of the Revolutionary War, due to its integral part in the establishment and independence of our country. Four of the historic sites on the Freedom Trail are in the North End.
The famous lanterns that signaled that the British were coming shone from the tower of the Old North Church, the oldest church in Boston, on Salem Street. This provoked Paul Revere's rebellious midnight ride to Lexington.
Paul Revere's home on Salem Street, where he and his wife raised 16 children, also still exists today and is now a very popular tourist destination.
Salem Street was also a hub for the birth of commerce for early America. In the 17th century it was home to Boston's first food markets and grain and wood mills, which introduced a bustling trade in the 18th century for ship builders. The street was also busy with goldsmiths, silversmiths, copper producers, and iron and steel bell casters.
Today, the neighborhood is known as the premier location for authentic Italian fare and for its summer celebrations of saints' feasts. On weekends from early June until the end of August, visitors are likely to see street processions held in honor of various saints.