Daytrippers: Federal Hill Food Tour


The storied Federal Hill section of Providence isn't lacking in good taste especially if you walk the walk. On Federal Hill there's a tour where the historic meets the caloric. For the past nine years pastry chef Cindy Salvato has run the epicurean adventure called "Savoring Federal Hill." "It's all about the food, no matter what anyone tells you," Salvato said, "on the tour we go into five different shops, we meet owners, go into their kitchens, we hear their family stories, and we eat the entire way." The first stop is Venda Ravioli which is part market and part restaurant. Meats and cheeses glimmer as the stars under the lights in the vast counters at Venda and with an array of exotic varieties, Venda Ravioli claims to have perfected the pasta pocket (pumpkin, chicken-walnut, sun dried tomato-- all winners). Manager Michael McLynch said, "you come into Venda in Federal Hill, it's no different than you coming into my house, you come in, we eat, we talk, everything revolves around food, it's all part of our heritage."

A walk across the cafés on DePasquale Plaza by a faux roman fountain (tacky but eye-catching) and a few storefronts down Atwells Avenue sits Scialo Brothers Bakery where having your cake and eating it too is expected according to owner Lois Scialo. Scialo grew up in the building that still houses the namesake bakery and the sturdy, still kicking, century old oven. "When we say it's made by hand, it really is made by hand, if we can't do it by hand, we don't do it, she said." At Scialo, pick your path to poundage, there are hundreds of old world, made from scratch offerings; from Canolis to the chocolate dipped quaresimale, the bakery's signature almond biscotti.

Visits to chefs, bakers, and ravioli makers are sure to leave you with a good taste in your mouth. Salvato added, "they need to know about "The Hill"... And that's my job to bring them to the places, they have a great time."

The Savoring Federal Hill Food Tour is open to the public every Saturday, private tours can be set up any day of the week. The tour costs $50 dollars per person. The tour invites kids but it mostly appeals to ages 13 and up. For more information, go to

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