Ever since the Romans pitched up and built a small settlement they called Londinium in 47 AD, Italy has had enduring links to London. ‘Little Italy’ in Clerkenwell dates back to the early 1800s and is home to the nineteenth-century St Peter’s Italian Church, where the annual procession for Our Lady of Mount Carmel in July has a real carnival spirit.
There’s plenty of Italian fare at Terroni of Clerkenwell, where they’ve been selling Italian delicacies since 1878, and you can still slurp some of the best cappuccinos in town in the coffee bars of Soho, favoured hangouts for Vespa-scooting mods in the ’60s.
But there’s more to London Italian life than tradition, as you’ll see if you order a Peroni Nastro Azzurro Piccola in Tony Conigliaro’s Bar Termini in Soho. London cries out for innovation, for exciting new twists that refresh and invigorate, which is where heritage takes on a hip edge as cuisine, fashion and design evolve in the twenty-first century. And the Italians are doing it all with considerable style.