The name Philadelphia comes from the Greek which means “city of fraternal love”. It was William Penn, a well-known British Quaker explorer, who founded it in 1682. The Americans affectionately call it Philly, as if it were a friend whose name is shortened, and they speak of it like the city in which the United States concentrates their few years of history, in fact, it is precisely here that the Declaration of Independence was signed and where the Liberty Bell is preserved.
There are two are the faces of Philly, as its inhabitants call it: a modern part, where the glass skyscrapers with neon signs stand on the Schuylkill River, running through the city, and the oldest part with the two-story red brick houses, the low-traffic streets and landscaped gardens between the Delaware River and the Independence National Historical Park, the place where America was made. It is in this area that the declaration of independence and the constitution were discussed and approved. In this park, we can also visit the Liberty Bell Center. The liberty bell greeted the start of the constitution with its tweaks, the President’s House, the National Constitution Center, and Franklin Court, the museum on Benjamin Franklin.
It is the first city in the United States to enter the UNESCO list as a World Heritage Site: Philadelphia, a welcoming metropolis on the East Coast, has received the prestigious award for its rich historical, cultural and artistic value. UNESCO wished to preserve and enhance one of its monuments, the Independence Hall, the building where the United States Constitution was signed on July 4, 1776. Walking through the streets of the centre and entering its museums and palaces, you immediately sense the qualities and historical prestige.
If you visit Philadelphia, you certainly cannot miss the famous Cheesesteak! What is the Cheesesteak? It is the typical dish of this city, of course. Talking about an American dish we can certainly not expect something dietary, its main ingredients are in fact: baguette-like bread, striped beef on the plate, a good dose of melted cheese, onions and if you like some spicy sauce, all accompanied by a good plate of fries!
Philadelphia has always been a city of artisans. What in the colonial era was a network of laboratories between the rivers Schuylkill and Delaware in the Southeast of Pennsylvania would have grown to include factories, houses, skyscrapers and the suburban extension. Then, in the second half of the twentieth century, the factory left the city and the residents followed it. Some buildings remained empty. The weed invaded the historic Washington Square. The decades passed. Then, in the late seventies, urbanists and creatives sensed that abandoned spaces could come back to life. Artisans, chefs, designers, brewers were eager to fill them with their activities giving life to the rebirth of “Philly”. Today, thanks to them, the city is among the most vibrant and enterprising in the United States.
What to see in Philadelphia
“What is there to see in Philadelphia?” the classic question.
The United States of America is not just New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami and Los Angeles, but beautiful. There are many other cities to visit, less famous but just as fascinating, such as Philadelphia.
Below you will find places not to be missed.
It is the symbol of the American Revolution. On July 8, 1776, the liberty bell called people for the reading of the Declaration of Independence.
It is the oldest street in the city of Philadelphia. It is regarded as the oldest American residential street. A real dive into the past that will make you relive the atmosphere of “old America”.
Betsy Ross House
This is the house where the first American flag with stars and stripes was sewn. Originally the flag had 13 horizontal stripes of white and red (the 13 original colonies) and 13 white stars on the top of a blue background (the 13 federal states).
Philadelphia Museum of Art and Rocky Statue
It is one of the most cherished places for fans of the Rocky Balboa saga played by the legendary Sylvester Stallone.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, famous for the steps that Rocky ran on, boasts a collection of about 225,000 works of art including Persian rugs, Chinese porcelain and paintings by artists such as Sandro Botticelli, Pinturicchio, Van Gogh, Picasso, Dalì, Monet and Cézanne.
At the foot of the staircase, just to the right of it, looking at the entrance to the museum, is the statue dedicated to the boxer.
In this architecturally beautiful museum are exhibited works of art created between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries of the last century. It is possible to admire paintings by Gauguin, Goya, Monet, Modigliani, Van Gogh, Rousseau, Cézanne and others.
It is one of the symbols of the city. Created by the artist Robert Indiana, it is located in Love Park which formerly known as The Plaza of John F. Kennedy. The park is right across the city hall.
Reading Terminal Market
It is the central market of the city. All strictly indoor, it is a food paradise. Inside you can have breakfast in the typical American diner, buy fruit, vegetables, meat and fish, and have lunch. For lunch, you should definitely eat the Cheese Steak, the typical Philadelphia-style meat and cheese sandwich.
Little curiosity, in the market there is also a desk of the Amish, the religious community that lives in the countryside far from the intrusion of civilisation that could affect their principles.
Eastern State Penitentiary
Opened October 25, 1829, it was the first real penitentiary in the world. Among its walls were criminals such as Al Capone and bank robber Willie Sutton.
Now in disuse, it is possible to visit its cells, its corridors and its courtyards. The visit can be terrifying but equally fun.