Continued from welcome page.

Samuel Fleisher located his informal school in the neighborhood where many of his employees lived. Today, the facility, which includes an art-laden Sanctuary built in the 1880s, offers dozens of classes, and sponsors several art shows each year. Its Sanctuary houses works acquired by Fleisher, including an altarpiece by Violet Oakley. decorative and liturgical objects, an iron gate by Samuel Yellin and a small collection of Russian icons and Oriental carpets.

Located on the 700 block of Catharine Street since 1915, Fleisher is just one vestige of the immigrants’ Bella Vista.

Elsewhere, awaits a very active bocce court (10th and Carpenter) and the still-thriving (and, thanks to recent upgrades, better than ever) 9th Street curb market. Familiarly called the “Italian Market,” this century-old strip boasts an ever-expanding array of specialty shops, a tantalizing selection of produce (including unfamiliar treats sold by newcomers who have settled the area from Mexico and Vietnam), and several festivals each year.

As newer immigrants have discovered the neighborhood, homebuyers priced out of Center City have also recognized its charms and its still relatively-affordable housing. Bella Vista’s recent popularity has resulted in substantial remodeling of the existent housing stock, as well as a slate of more expensive, new infill housing. While the development climate has resulted in the loss of several placeholder community gardens that had sprung up on empty lots, one of the best, survives: Bel Arbor at 10th and Kimball.

And, we remain a neighborhood rich in public parks. These include Palumbo Recreation Center, and Cianfrani, Bardascino, and Palumbo parks. Neighbors are also working to introduce a new park to the area, Triangle Park, on a sliver of empty land bounded 6th, Passyunk and Christian Streets, bordering Queen Village and Bella Vista.

Bella Vista residents are also fortunate in the wealth of eateries from classic Italian restaurants to coffee shops to trendy dining spots that serve the neighborhood, and the city. Not only are we heralded as the “brunch capital of Philadelphia,” but we offer some of the city’s oldest restaurants, not to mention some of its most unique (specializing in everything from Italian chocolates to Brittany crepes).

As newcomers have settled the neighborhood, the patter of little feet once again enlivens our streets. To meet the demand, elementary schools like Nebinger and Meredith serve our neighborhood along with Christopher Columbus Charter School…….

It’s a heady time for Bella Vista, a time of exciting changes modified by the steadying influence of tradition and community. We wouldn’t have it any other way!