The city of New Haven, located on Long Island Sound, once shared the status of state capital of Connecticut, but lost it to the sole ownership of nearby Hartford in 1873. Home to Yale University since its foundation in 1701, New Haven has historically been the most dynamic city in the state for research and industry.
The Ivy League institution hosts a cluster of museums across the arts and sciences, from the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History and the Yale University Art Gallery to the Yale Center for British Art.
Charles Dickens, on a brief visit in 1868, is claimed to have described Hillhouse Avenue in the centre of the university campus as “the most beautiful street in America”. Surrounded by the university campus and almost entirely Yale owned today, the upper block of this row of 19th-century villas has been remarkably preserved and is where the president of the university traditionally has his home at number 43, built in 1871.
There is something besides Ivy League heritage, library collections and the stunning Victorian Gothic architecture of Prospect Hill and East Rock worth settling in New Haven for: traditional Neapolitan pizza, locally known as “apizza”, after the Italian dialect. This thin-crust, wood-oven baked pizza can be consumed on a red (with tomato sauce) or white base, and is usually ordered “plain” with just a sprinkle of grated pecorino. This simple recipe was introduced at the iconic Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria Napoletana on Wooster Street, which has more recently developed a popular white clam pie variation. This white-base apizza, topped with fresh seafood, takes inspiration from the regional produce of the city’s coastal location.
The Daily Meal, the food review website, rated Frank Pepe’s pizza the best in America from 2013 to 2015. It remains in the top five, beating many New York City restaurants on the top-101 list.
If you fancy a sophisticated tipple before heading home, order a rye whiskey Old Fashioned at Ordinary, believed to be New Haven’s oldest tavern. Just off New Haven’s 16-acre historic town green, this restored bar, with its dark wood and taxidermy, gives a contemporary nod to America’s speakeasy tradition.
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