St. Petersburg’s Little Italy

Did you know that the St. Petersburg area has a substantial population of Italian immigrants? Drawn to the sunny weather, gorgeous beaches, and friendly, relaxed lifestyle, many Italian families have moved to our town over the years. And they brought some of the best of Italian culture and food along with them! We’d like to share some St. Petersburg and St. Pete Beach Italian treasures that will help you live La Dolce Vita here at Alden Suites.

The most famous Italian food destination in the St. Pete area is Mazzaro’s Italian Market. It’s about a 20 minute drive from St. Pete Beach, and you’ll want to time your visit well since Mazzaro’s gets VERY busy on weekends. The market is a festival of everything Italian, with freshly made breads, hand-sliced prosciutto, gelato, handmade cheeses, fresh pasta, and all the spices and sauces you need to make an Italian feast. It’s a perfect place to stock your refrigerator for a week of delicious meals in your suite at the Alden. While you’re there, grab a sandwich to eat on the outside patio, and check out the cool shop next door full of Italian imports.

Downtown St. Pete has an upscale Italian restaurant that many Alden guests enjoy for a romantic night out. It’s called BellaBrava, and they offer some unique, modern twists on Italian food. All of their pastas are homemade, which makes even something as simple as cacio e pepe, fresh spaghetti with cheese and pepper, truly delicious. Foodies rave about their squid ink pasta, calamari and inventive appetizers. It’s a cool place to hang out too, with live music in the bar most evenings.

Closer to home, just a few blocks north of Alden Suites, we have our own Italian Market called La Casa del Pane. They have a small market with Italian candies, sauces, and pastas, but the real star is the fresh-baked bread. Pick up a fresh baguette, ciabatta, or a soft focaccia to make a delicious meal. La Casa del Pane is also a great place to grab a delicious fresh-made sandwich for a picnic on the beach. Who knew you could eat so well while enjoying a blissful beach day?

And speaking of Italian, we have some Italian restaurants here in town that you won’t want to miss. Just a couple of blocks south of the Alden, you’ll find Buona Pizza, the perfect place to pop in for a slice at lunchtime. This waterfront gem offers way more than pizza, with seafood and pasta specials that change every day, and their garlic knots are to die for! Verducci’s Pizzeria and Trattoria is another romantic spot for a classic Italian meal. Famed for their gnocchi and osso bucco, the chefs at Verducci’s have been delighting visitors to St. Pete Beach since 1976!

You never have to worry about depriving your tastebuds of Italian deliciousness when you’re staying at the Alden. Arrividerci for now, and let us know how you enjoy our Italian foodie favorites!

7 Things to pack on your beach trip with a baby

Traveling with a baby can be daunting, especially when you start to pack! Babies come with so much gear these days it can quickly become overwhelming when thinking what to bring on a beach vacation! Luckily, you’ve booked your beach vacation at Alden Suites in St. Petersburg Florida, so you’re already ahead of the game! Alden Suites caters to the needs of families staying at our resort and the 5 acres of beautiful calm Gulf Coast waters are perfect for taking your little one to the beach for the first time. There are also two spacious heated pools perfect for swimming lessons for the little tikes not ready to get salty.

Here at Alden Suites we have already taken care of so many of the packing concerns parents have during their stay. Each suite has a kitchen stocked with glasses, plates, mugs, dish towels, dishwasher w/ detergent, dish soap, coffee maker, and even a Tupperware container and pitcher to save some leftovers and make sun tea on our private balcony (for Mommy’s 2pm caffeine pick-me-up)! We hear from our guests often how relieved they are that they didn’t have to overpack to have a comfortable stay. That being said, here are some things you WILL want to pack when staying at Alden with your little one.

1. Safety Outlet Covers: The Alden offers suites with plenty of outlets for all your chargers and electronics you bring. Although convenient for all your technology needs and comforts, we know your little one will gravitate towards anything at their eye level. You can shut off the doors to your bedroom and bathroom, so your little tornado can run around free, but they always seem to find something to get into. We hear from our parents they easily baby proofed their suite with a few safety outlets covers and a chair blocking the oven door, so it can’t be pulled down by your curious toddler.

2. Bottle Brush: The Alden provides every suite with a dishwasher, detergent, dish soap and dish towels, but if you have bottles to wash, a bottle brush definitely would be a good idea to pack. It will be quicker to scrub your bottles out with a bottle brush then wait for the dishwasher to be full and you won’t have to pack as many bottles!

3. Hook-on Booster Seat: Hook-on booster seats are a life saver while traveling! No one wants to pack a high chair. Luckily for under $30 you can purchase a hook-on booster seat of your very own. Every suite has a dining room table and chairs making it comfortable and easy to have meals in your room!

4. Baby Blanket: The Alden offers cribs that will be waiting for you, in your room, when you arrive free of charge. The crib we provide is perfect for sleep and serves well as a playpen when you need a hands-free moment! We hear this alone alleviates so much of the stress parents have packing, but it might be a good idea to pack your little one’s favorite blankey to give them some comfort and familiarity of home.

5. White Noise Machine: We hear from our guests all the time how surprised they were with how quiet their rooms are at night, but sometimes with a new baby we know they aren’t used to complete silence while they sleep. If your little is accustomed to having some kind of white noise while sleeping, you may want to pack your white noise machine to help them sleep peacefully.

6. Yoga Mat: Here’s one of the more genius mom hacks we’ve heard from a guest: One mom told us she found multiple uses for her yoga mat while vacationing with us. She used her yoga mat for her morning exercises, then later in the grassy area during lunch at the food truck with the beautiful view of the beach, on the beach in attempts to keep the baby from picking up all the seashells and trying to eat them, and then brilliantly in the tub at bath time to avoid slipping. Multi-functional, light weight and easy to pack!

7. Wine Key: Nope, this one is obviously not for the baby, but your baby is going to sleep so well after an action-packed day on the beach and in the resort’s pools that you’re going to have some free time to enjoy a beer or glass of wine before bed! There’s a great Cabana bar located on premises open from noon till 10pm & 11pm on weekends (weather permitting), but with a sleeping baby in your room you can relax and enjoy an adult beverage from your private balcony with an amazing view of the Gulf Coast.

You may have thought this list would have gone to 10, but honestly there’s really no need to overthink or overpack while staying at Alden Suites. The rooms are so thoughtfully stocked to provide you with a stress-free and functional stay, you won’t find much you’ll need that isn’t already provided! If you do find things you need that aren’t already in your room, our friendly staff will either provide it for you or help direct you to many of the conveniently located shops in walking distance. So, relax Mom and Dad, you already made the amazing choice to stay at Alden which will make packing and traveling with a baby stress-free and enjoyable!