Lygon Street is a place of iconic buildings, lively characters, local entrepreneurs, musicians and bohemians–with a back drop of beautiful Victorian terraces. If you love dining al fresco, bookstores, theatres, gelati bars and cake shops (and are particular about your coffee), no doubt you’ve ventured this way.
It’s home to Australia’s first pizza house, one of Melbourne’s first cheese specialists, one of the oldest licensed grocery stores, and the sacred location where Carlton Football Club was founded in 1865. Allow us to take you on a short journey of new and old Lygon Street, to meet some of this diverse Carlton community.
Tucked away in Raffa Place and a stone’s throw from Lygon Street, you’ll find The Vertue of the Coffee Drink. Their general rule is to take a lighter approach for their filter coffees and cross over to the dark side for their espresso, but this coffee shop likes to experiment and will customise their brewing for any order. Owner, Mike Cracknell, fills us in on what makes them stand out in a suburb where the coffee flows freely.
The Donnini family has had a culinary presence in Melbourne for more than 60 years and were one of the first fresh pasta manufacturers and retailers in Australia. Donnini’s is a Carlton institution, where the importance of traditional cooking techniques has been expressed to regulars and visitors alike since 1979. We hear from Paula Brophy, who fills us in on what is so special about this family-owned business and the stretch of road it inhabits.
Museo Italiano’s Acting Manager, Ferdinando Colarossi, invites us in to this special space that tells the stories of Italian migration and the rich culture it brought to Australia. Melbourne’s Italian population in 1914 had barely reached 100 and the deprivations of the First World War sparked a wave of Italian immigrants. In 1939, Italian-born migrants became the largest non-British group in Australia and the Italian-Australian culture and customs can still be seen, felt and eaten on Lygon Street. The post-war boom also caused the Jewish population to swell and the area became a major centre of Jewish life in Melbourne.
Colourful Lygon Street continues to be transformed by newcomers from all corners of the globe, who nowadays hail from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Do you have a favourite place to visit on Lygon Street?