The backstory of Carlton is writ large on its main, and most famous, thoroughfare of Lygon Street, where a profusion of cafes, eateries and delis trumpet its origins as a Melbourne neighbourhood settled by Italians and other migrants from post-war Europe in the middle of last century, who set up the kind of communal cafes they left behind. And hey presto, Australian cafe culture was born. But robust, flavoursome caffeine brews are not the only thing Carlton has going for it. For nature lovers, culture vultures and architecture wonks, the expansive Carlton Gardens are the ultimate drawcard, home to the compelling Melbourne Museum (museumsvictoria.com.au), the glorious World Heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building, completed in 1880 to house the Melbourne International Exhibition, as well as 26-hectares of lush Victorian landscape gardens complete with fountains, lakes and, come spring, achingly beautiful swathes of blooms. Bellisimo!