One of the country’s most vibrant (and least touristy) Italian enclaves, the Providence’s  Little Italy on Federal Hill abounds with authentic trattorias boasting pretty al fresco seating, inexpensive pizzerias, gelaterias, and salumerias (grocery stores peddling imported meats, cheeses, and other specialties). The area makes for an excellent evening out; it isn’t too large to explore by foot, but holds enough attractions that most visitors leave hoping for a return trip (usually for another dinner).
You’ll know you’ve reached the neighborhood once you spot the red, white, and green stripe down Atwells Avenue and the huge pinecone (Italian symbol of abundance and quality) hanging above the street. Just past that, pick any of the reasonably priced, family-owned institutions—Angelo’s Civita Farnese  is a good bet—and dig into the basic but flavorful pastas.
Among the stable of sit-down eateries you’ll find scores of boutiques, gelaterias, and Italian bakeries—Scialo Bros. Bakery (257 Atwells Ave., www.scialobakery.com , 877/421-0986) is a local favorite for cheesecake. Then simply walk it all off exploring the courtyards, complete with water fountains and street music, that continue down the street.