National Geographic Traveler: Insider’s Boston

September 2004

Insider’s Boston

by George W. Stone
Photographs by John Kernick

America’s revolutionary city, a refuge for Puritans and polymaths, has gardens, history, colleges, and—for those who know where to go—more than a few secrets and surprises.

Tour an old Italian neighborhood

“It’s like being immersed in a little village in Italy,” says chef and tour guide Michele Topor, a 30-year resident of the North End neighborhood. “All the old guys will say ‘Ciao, ciao bella!’ and the old ladies stop and chitchat.” One of America’s oldest Italian neighborhoods may also be its most sensuous—you see, hear, smell, and taste this place. Topor’s North End Market Tours (617-523-6032; takes you to the delis, spice stores, wine bars, and pastry shops of Boston’s Little Italy. “It’s like a walk-in cooking class,” Topor says. Intimate and informative, it transports you into another country within two minutes of downtown.