Experience Italy Without Having To Leave London

Italy in London

Dreaming of Italy but stuck in London this summer? Fret not! Those looking to enjoy a taste of Italian culture without actually leaving the city can do so, no plane ticket required! With something to suit every palette be it in taste or entertainment, you’ll almost forget you’re not in Italy – almost, because let’s face it, London weather is no substitute for that Italian sunshine! (No shade London, we love ya!)

Go for gelatos at Gelupo

Gelato from Gelupo
Photo: Sandra G/Yelp

Because it’s summer and there’s no better time to have a gelato in hand. Our favourite is none other than Gelupo Gelateria. Their freshly made Italian ice cream is touted as the finest Artisan Gelato experience this side of the Alps. Your only dilemma upon entering is the tough decision of choosing which  deli-inspired flavours you’d like. Stick with house favourites like black forest cherry and straciatella and you won’t be disappointed!

Nearest Station: Piccadilly Circus

Visit Cinema Italia

Photo: Facebook/Cinema Italia UK
Photo: Facebook/Cinema Italia UK

The country that gave us Il Postino: The Postman, Cinema Paradiso and La Dolce Vita is no weakling on the cinematic scene. Whether you’re dreaming of the rolling hills of Tuscany or the winding streets of Rome, Italian movies will have you touring the country, one cinematic shot at a time. So ditch your loathing of subtitled movies and venture into Cinema Italia where you can put your feet up against the backdrop of an Italian screening and listen to the soothing sounds of the Italian language.Oh and did we mention… cinema tickets include post-show Italian wine and regional food!

Nearest Station: Mile End

Grab a pizza at Franco Manca

Photo: francomanca.co.uk
Photo: francomanca.co.uk

You know the pizza’s gotta be good if Italian transplants in London give it the thumbs up! We’re talking about Franco Manca of course. Get your fill of true Neapolitan-style pizza here where ingredients are fresh and service is friendly. A bite of their made in wood-fired ovens pizza is all you need to convince you that the never-ending tube ride to Brixton was worth it!

Nearest Station: Brixton

Pick up Italian goodies at Lina stores

Photo: linastores.co.uk
Photo: linastores.co.uk

Grocery shopping gives insight into the collection of primary ingredients utilised by a particular country and Lina Stores’does exactly this with its showcase of incredible Italian items. From cheeses to olives to seasonings, get ready to grab everything off the shelves here!

Nearest Station: Piccadilly Circus

Sip Wine at Li Veli Italian Winery and Bistro

Photo: liveli.co.uk
Photo: liveli.co.uk

An extension of a winery in Puglia, Li Veli is an informal yet stylish bistro and enoteca where you can try Puglian cuisine paired with wines from the area as well as other parts of Italy. If you’re looking to get better acquainted with your Italian wines, Li Veli offers wine classes on request with their in house wine maker. Be it coffee, brunch, lunch or dinner, this cozy little place in Covent Garden has something for everyone.

Nearest Station: Covent Garden

Down Espresso shots at Bar Italia

Photo: baritaliasoho.co.uk
Photo: baritaliasoho.co.uk

Scoot your vespa over to Bar Italia (and get in line behind the other scooters) because if you want to drink coffee Italian style, it doesn’t get more authentic than this three generation family fun business. In Italy, coffee is drunk standing up in a place that’s noisy and crowded. Loud, bright and rambunctious on any given day, Bar Italia offers you the true Italian coffee experience. You’ll have to wrestle your way to the front of the counter and shout out your order to be head above the general din. A great place to drink a shot and then move on. If you’d like to linger over your cappuccino, you’ll have to get a seat outside on the pavement.

Nearest Station: Leicester Square

Immerse yourself in all things Italian

Photo: Facebook/Italian Cultural Institute
Photo: Facebook/Italian Cultural Institute

You’ve eaten the pizza and drank the espresso, but there’s more to experiencing Italy beyond their delicious food. Enter the Instituto Italiano di Cultura, one of the go-to places to visit if you want to explore Italian heritage via art, music, fashion, architecture and so much more. Check out the cafeteria or attend one of the many free events, meet Italians living in London and even brush up on your Italian language skills with language courses that range from beginner to advanced levels.

Nearest Station: Hyde Park Corner

Bank is a keen traveller and tea drinker. When not writing, Bank has a desire to make Thai cooking replicable for everyone.


  • As a born-and-bred Londoner and a not-yet-visited-Italy person, this is a great read. Will definitely check out some of these things to make up for the lack of Italian cultural awareness (as well as a London awareness into some of the great things to check out)

  • This sounds fantastic! I might just do this before my trip to Italy next month! Thank you

  • Excellent article, I found this to be an immensely interesting read and will definitely be partaking in some of these for sure.

  • Brilliant article, I have visited Italy several times and love the culture as well as the food. Will definitely be trying a few of these out!

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