Italian Americans Have Contributed Much More Than Pizza to Phoenix, AZ

Between the years 1900 to 1910, Arizona saw an influx of Italian immigrants, especially in the southern part of the state. These immigrants were largely from the Northern regions of Piedmont, Calabria, and Liguria. By 1930, Italian restaurants near Phoenix, AZ, began to be established, as well as in Tucson, Nogales, and Prescott.

Modern statistics indicate that today, there are around 10,000 first-generation Italians living in Arizona. Moreover, around 200,000 Italian-Americans call the Grand Canyon State home.

It wasn’t long before residents in the Valley of the Sun were dining on spaghetti and meatballs, calzone, and of course, pizza. In fact, the 1960s saw an explosion of pizza parlors in the Valley, and going out for pizza became a weekly ritual. From McDowell Road to Southern Avenue, Italian restaurants near Phoenix, AZ, were springing up everywhere.

Menus evolved with the times, and eventually, chicken marsala, fettuccine Alfredo, shrimp scampi, and portobello mushroom ravioli were added to the menu. Today, you can even find zucchini noodles, and a few new Italian restaurants near Phoenix, AZ, even offer gluten-free pasta dishes.

While Phoenix does not have a “Little Italy”, Italians have become an integral part of this desert city. Valley residents can experience the tastes, sounds, and part of Italy at the annual Italian Festival of Arizona, held in Scottsdale.

From food to architecture and much more, Italian immigrants have shaped Arizona. From the legendary Father Kino to architect Paolo Soleri, Italians have been drawn to the Sonoran Desert to seek their fortune.

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