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Lygon Street’s Italian Theme

Situated in the heart of Carlton, Lygon Street is Melbourne’s answer to Little Italy. Sprawling out from Queensberry Street to Elgin Street, it is packed full of tasty European treats and a hearty dose of Italian history for good measure. 

During the day, the street is a flurry of activity, with tourists dipping in and out of boutique stores, cafes, and bookshops that are geared towards locals and the large student population in the area. Head into Gratton Street, a major artery through the area, and you’ll stumble upon a more formal dining scene, where you can tuck into delicious seasonal dishes in family-run restaurants and international eateries on Melbourne city tours

The History of Lygon Street

Melbourne is home to a strong Italian heritage that spans back to the very first settlement. During that period, numerous Italians arrived right in the middle of the gold rush era.

For many years, the culture of these settlers was absorbed in contemporary Australian culture but, recently, a pro-European immigration stance from the government in the mid-1900s saw a fresh surge of Italians flock to Australian shores.

This new influx of Italians set up clubs and societies, they started up businesses, and generally injected a large dose of their culture and heritage into Melbourne city life.
At the end of the 1950s, Lygon Street was dominated by Italian-run businesses, and it has remained that way ever since. 

The Italian Theme of Lygon Street

Italian heritage and culture still remains strong in Lygon Street, where delicious food encounters with European classics like ham, cheese, and olives are waiting to be discovered. It is also home to what’s been dubbed the world’s best margherita, according to the World Pizza Championships. 

But Melbourne’s Little Italy isn’t just about the foodie offerings. There are plenty of Italian-themed markets that line the street, serving up meats, cheeses, coffees, olive oils, wines, breads, and gelatos, all within a confined space. When darkness falls, you can spend the evening the Italian way by knocking back espresso or prosecco and dining al fresco on pizza and pasta. 

This fascinating part of Melbourne shows just how much the multi-culture vibe of the city affects its modern-day culture. Tucked away in the heart of Melbourne’s bustling cosmopolitan centre, Lygon Street brings a dose of Italy to the proceedings, where cheese, ham, and wines are the name of the game, and a laidback lifestyle offers a contrast to the buzz of daily life.

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