UEFA Euro 2020 champions celebrated in Little Italy.

The Italy national football team, winner of this summer’s UEFA Euro 2020 tournament, is being celebrated on the streets of Little Italy. Banners have been hung from lamp posts in the downtown San Diego neighborhood, depicting players on the victorious soccer team.

I walked through Little Italy this morning and took photographs of several banners along India Street.

In this world whose history includes much grief and violence, perhaps a friendly sporting competition that brings people from many different nations together is a good thing.

Bravi Azzurri. Well done, Italy!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Poster art in Little Italy’s Amici House!

If you’re a fan of poster art, you’ll probably enjoy a visit to the Amici House in Little Italy. A couple of walls are covered with movie, travel and concert posters–all in Italian!

The posters were hung during the COVID-19 pandemic closure.

Yesterday I discovered that the Amici House, which serves the Little Italy community as an event, heritage and visitor center, is open once again!

Come by and enjoy the coffee cart and shady patio outside!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

An unusual Old Master mural in Normal Heights!

An unusual mural was painted in Normal Heights this year. It can be viewed on Adams Avenue, in a nook where this Prince mural used to be, and across from this Kobe Bryant mural. It was painted by local street artists Hasler and Shark, who also created the nearby Kobe Bryant artwork.

I say this mural is unusual, because street art is usually more like graffiti or contemporary artwork–abstract, extremely bold, and with a typically rebellious vibe. One doesn’t expect to see the recreation of a traditional Old Master painting.

The image that dominates this mural is of Italian artist Caravaggio‘s religious painting Saint Jerome Writing, 1605–1606. Words spray painted in the background are the Caravaggio quote: “All works, no matter what or by whom painted, are nothing but bagatelles and childish trifles unless they are made and painted from life, and there can be nothing better than to follow nature.”

Caravaggio usually painted realistic human forms, with dramatic lighting that emphasized emotion. His very popular work would influence other famous Old Masters like Peter Paul Rubens, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and Rembrandt.

I wonder what Caravaggio would think if he visited San Diego today and looked around. Probably that he’d been transported to an alien world!

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Colorful banners celebrate Italian Americans.

Jim Croce.
Jim Croce.

Occasionally, over the years, I’ve shared photographs of colorful banners hung from street lamps in Little Italy. Many can be found along India Street. Most celebrate famous Italian Americans.

The face you see might be of a popular musician, or an Oscar winner, or an inventor, or a Major League Baseball player, or a religious leader, or a powerful politician or businessman . . . you get the idea.

During walks through Little Italy in the past few weeks I noticed many banners that I hadn’t photographed yet.

In no particular order, here they are:

Mother Cabrini.
Mother Cabrini.

Bruce Springsteen.
Bruce Springsteen.

Jerry Lewis and Frank Busalacchi (San Diego restauranteur).
Jerry Lewis and Frank Busalacchi (San Diego restauranteur).

Vito Marcantonio.
Vito Marcantonio.

Fiorello La Guardia.
Fiorello La Guardia.

Louis Prima.
Louis Prima.

Dana Reeve.
Dana Reeve.

Al Pacino.
Al Pacino.

Francis Ford Coppola.
Francis Ford Coppola.

Jimmy Durante.
Jimmy Durante.

Giada De Laurentiis.
Giada De Laurentiis.

Joe Pass.
Joe Pass.

Russ Columbo.
Russ Columbo.

Robert Mondavi.
Robert Mondavi.

Jennifer Capriati.
Jennifer Capriati.

Roger Enrico.
Roger Enrico.

Ernest and Julio Gallo.
Ernest and Julio Gallo.

Frank Capra.
Frank Capra.

Carlo Vinci.
Carlo Vinci.

Dean Martin.
Dean Martin.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Positive messages observed during one walk.

Long Live the Creatives.
Long Live the Creatives.

During my early morning walk through Little Italy, I observed all sorts of positive messages–in windows, on tiles, on banners and signs. Many of these messages concern creativity, one of my favorite topics!

To lovers of beer, one of the following photos contains a VERY positive message!

Creativity in one window.
Creativity in a window.

Little Italy San Diego Celebrates Italian Heritage Month and the contributions Italians have made to the world.
Little Italy San Diego Celebrates Italian Heritage Month and the contributions Italians have made to the world.

Candido Jacuzzi, inventor.
Candido Jacuzzi, inventor.

Our destiny is together I pray you so select. Let's find the strength for the family we do protect.
Our destiny is together I pray you so select. Let’s find the strength for the family we do protect.

TRUCKLOAD OF BEER.
TRUCKLOAD OF BEER.

I am bright-eyed. I am connected. I am love...
I am bright-eyed. I am connected. I am love…

What's Your Love Story-
What’s Your Love Story?

Lux, Veritas . . . Light, Truth.
Lux, Veritas . . . Light, Truth.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

The most magical circus in the world!

Today I was wowed by amazing, dazzling, stupefying performances at the most magical circus in the world!

I know for a fact that I experienced the most powerful magic. I saw it, heard it, smelled it, got goosebumps. I felt magic in my sudden laughter and in my soaring heart. I saw magic in the joyful smiles of each circus performer.

The Zoppé Family Circus is performing this weekend at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. They are a circus whose history goes back to 1842, when, according to their website:

“. . . a young French street performer named Napoline Zoppé wandered into a plaza in Budapest, Hungary, looking for work. There, his eyes glanced upon a beautiful equestrian ballerina named Ermenegilda, who captured the hearts and minds of the crowd with her grace and showmanship. More important, this talented beauty captured Napoline’s heart.

Unfortunately, Napoline was a clown, and Ermenegilda’s father saw him as beneath her and disapproved of their relationship. The two ran away to Venice, Italy, and founded the circus that still bears their name . . .”

Today, the Zoppé Family Circus is filling our world with the time-tested magic of an Old World traditional circus. As Giovanni Zoppé explained when he welcomed the audience to the show, an authentic circus is all about family, tradition and struggle, and happiness and heartbreak.

I could see that the performers are also motivated by passion and a very deep love for what they do.

I spoke to Giovanni briefly, and he was such a nice person. I mean really nice.

After I got home, I did some reading and learned: “Giovanni Zoppé, the director of the circus and a sixth-generation performer, says the show aims higher than what passes for circuses these days. ‘We try to touch every emotion during the show,’ he says. ‘They’ll laugh, they’ll cry, and they’ll feel for the characters. It’s more of an event than a show.’

His performance as Nino the clown was hilarious, winning and utterly human. It was perfect. It was masterful.

The entire spectacle was fantastic.

Under the big top, in the spotlight at the center of the ring, the magic of the Zoppé Family Circus never ceased. There was magic in the acrobats, trapeze act, jugglers and tightwire act. There was magic in the trick horse riding and the lady who shot an arrow with perfect accuracy using her feet while doing a handstand. There was magic in the mustachioed fellow who flew through the air absurdly with a rope tied to his hair. He spun like a top, circled high above the ring, soared like a bird. There was magic in the glittering costumes, and the smell of sawdust and buttery popcorn, and the excited chatter and laughter of children. There was magic when Nino couldn’t find his hat, then couldn’t reach it when it dangled from the top of a broomstick that he held.

There was magic in every single moment.

My camera failed to take good photos in the subdued light under the big top. But I got some photos in front of the tent during a humorous pre-show performance.

In my photos you can see a little bit of that magic. And much of the humanity.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Little Italy’s history, culture at Amici House.

Arriving at the historic Amici House, a cultural center in San Diego's downtown Little Italy neighborhood.
Approaching the historic Amici House, a cultural center in San Diego’s downtown Little Italy neighborhood.

In downtown San Diego’s beautiful Little Italy neighborhood, tucked among trees between Amici Park and the popular Little Italy Dog Park, one can find a small house that is named for friendship. It’s called Amici House.

A century ago the Amici House was home to the Giacalone family, who lived in Sicily before their arrival in San Diego in 1916. Antonio Giacalone and his wife, Josephine, became an integral part of the local Italian fishing community. Their modest Craftsman style house was originally located a few blocks to the west, near India Street. Last year the structure was moved to its present location at 250 W. Date Street, in order to make room for the new Piazza della Famiglia.

The historic home, now called the Amici House, has become a gathering place for the present-day community. Sheltered by graceful trees, its shady patio is the perfect place to relax, have a drink and chat with friends. Inside the house one can observe museum-like displays and learn about life in Little Italy, which was home to many immigrant fishermen back when San Diego was considered the tuna fishing capital of the world.

The Amici House is operated by The Convivio Society for Italian Humanities, a nonprofit organization that promotes Italian arts, culture and heritage in San Diego. The house with its intimate patio provides a unique venue for concerts and other entertainment. A variety of community activities such as outdoor movie screenings are often enjoyed in nearby Amici Park. The house can also be rented for private events.

I paid a visit on Saturday afternoon and took a few photos.

This grassy area in front of Amici House will soon be a venue for outdoor entertainment, with its own small stage.
This grassy area in front of Amici House will soon be a venue for outdoor entertainment, with its own small stage.

A group of people exits Amici House. I will be able to explore the place during a quiet moment on a Saturday afternoon.
A group of people exits Amici House. I will be able to explore the place during a quiet moment on a Saturday afternoon.

Steps lead up into the beautifully renovated Craftsman style Amici House.
Steps lead up into the small, renovated Craftsman style Amici House.

At the bottom of the front steps is a table with gifts. Caffè Convivio offers snacks and a few refreshing things to drink.
At the bottom of the front steps is a table with books and other gifts. Caffè Convivio offers snacks and a few refreshing things to drink.

Chairs and tables in front of Amici House provide a pleasant, shady place to relax on a sunny day.
Chairs and tables in front of Amici House provide a pleasant, shady place to relax on a sunny day.

This kinetic fish sculpture is popular with kids.
This kinetic fish sculpture is popular with kids.

After stepping into the small Amici House, I turned around and took a photo of old fishing artifacts above the door.
After stepping into the Amici House, I turned around and took a photo of old fishing artifacts above the door.

Photo into a large mirror on one wall provides a glimpse of the small museum-like interior.
Photo into a large mirror on one wall provides a glimpse of the small museum-like interior.

The walls inside the Amici House are full of historical photos and information concerning Little Italy, once center of a thriving tuna fishing industry.
The walls inside the Amici House are full of historical photos and information concerning Little Italy, once center of a thriving tuna fishing industry.

Posters, old photos and works of art with an Italian theme appear on all sides. I see Frank Sinatra.
Posters, old photos and works of art with an Italian theme appear on all sides. I see Frank Sinatra.

This small exhibition of art features work by sports fan and artist Christopher Paluso.
This small exhibition of art features work by sports fan and artist Christopher Paluso.

Examples of work by accomplished Italian American artist Christopher Paluso.
Examples of work by accomplished Italian American artist Christopher Paluso.

In a wooden cabinet I spied colorful gifts and crafts imported from Italy.
In a wooden cabinet I saw colorful glassware and crafts imported from Italy.

Painting of John D'Acquisto, Italian American baseball player who played four years with the San Diego Padres.
Painting of John D’Acquisto, Italian American baseball pitcher who played four years with the San Diego Padres.

Little Italy has a rich history, including many generations of families that still thrive in the community today.
Little Italy has a rich history, including many generations of families that still thrive in the community today.

I'm shown a rendering of a proposed, much larger cultural center that might be built by The Convivio Society elsewhere in Little Italy.
I’m shown a rendering of a proposed, much larger cultural center that might be built by The Convivio Society in the future.

Meanwhile, the Amici House is a repository of cherished memories for a lively and welcoming San Diego neighborhood.
Meanwhile, the Amici House holds (and produces) cherished memories for a lively San Diego neighborhood.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Before the Horizon, Beyond the Sea.

A colorful new mural decorates the AV8 Apartments in Little Italy.
A colorful new mural decorates the AV8 Apartments in Little Italy.

A large, very colorful mural has appeared in Little Italy! You can find it on the east wall of the brand new AV8 Aparments, overlooking a small parking lot. The public art is titled Before the Horizon, Beyond the Sea.

Artists David Leavitt and David Torres of CYRCLE created the mural, which honors the unique history of Little Italy–its many Italian and Portuguese tuna fishermen and their families, and the presence of an aviation factory years ago at this location.

Words in the mural trail an airplane, up there in the sky like the many commercial airliners today that fly over Little Italy as they approach San Diego International Airport. PRIMA DELL’ORIZZONTE is Italian for BEFORE THE HORIZON, and ALÉM DA COSTA is Portuguese for BEYOND THE COAST.

Before the Horizon, Beyond the Sea, a 2018 mural by David Leavitt and David Torres, celebrates the unique history of Little Italy.
Before the Horizon, Beyond the Sea, a 2018 mural by David Leavitt and David Torres of CYRCLE, celebrates the unique history of Little Italy.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Santa eats lots of pizza in Little Italy!

Santa Claus appeared this morning in Little Italy. He bought a yummy pizza at Landini's Pizzeria. I guess a good pizza is hard to come by at the North Pole.
Santa Claus appeared this morning in Little Italy. He bought a yummy pizza at Landini’s Pizzeria. I guess a good pizza is hard to come by at the North Pole.

I didn’t expect to see Santa this morning in Little Italy! What was he doing there?

I walked up and down India Street spying on the exploits of Santa and his merry Christmas pals. Read the photo captions and you’ll learn what I discovered…

Possibly to flag down Santa while he flew by overhead, a Buon Natale banner was hung on a street lamp in San Diego's Little Italy neighborhood.
Possibly to flag down Santa while he flew by overhead, a Buon Natale banner was hung on a street lamp in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood.

Apparently Santa left his sleigh and went into Filippi's Pizza Grotto to get another pizza.
Apparently Santa left his sleigh and went into Filippi’s Pizza Grotto to get another pizza.

I hope Santa doesn't neglect to put those presents in his sleigh under the Little Italy Christmas tree.
I hope Santa doesn’t neglect to put those presents in his sleigh under the Little Italy Christmas tree.

Thank goodness! He hasn't forgotten. Strange, but now he's flying a train onto rooftops. When you're full of Christmas magic, you can do things like that.
Thank goodness! He hasn’t forgotten. Strange, but now he’s flying a train onto rooftops. When you’re full of Christmas magic, you can do things like that.

I wonder if this nutcracker likes pizza. Chances are he prefers walnuts.
I wonder if this nutcracker likes pizza. Chances are he prefers walnuts.

Rudolph and an elf are also hanging out in Little Italy while Santa pays his visit. It seems everyone loves Italian food!
Rudolph and an elf are also hanging out in Little Italy while Santa pays his visit. It seems all sorts of odd folk love Italian food!

I hope and pray Santa brought lots of gifts. He'd better not forget Little Italy's poinsettia tree in Piazza Basilone.
I hope and pray Santa brought lots of gifts. He’d better not forget Little Italy’s poinsettia tree in Piazza Basilone.

That's nice. This elf brought candy canes. Obviously, Santa with his big jolly belly likes to constantly eat.
That’s nice. This happy elf brought candy canes. Obviously, Santa with his big jolly belly likes to constantly eat.

Candy canes and pasta in a window of an Italian market. Perhaps it's a tasty combination, perhaps not.
Candy canes and pasta in a window of an Italian market. Perhaps it’s a tasty combination, perhaps not.

Hey Santa! I see you're still hanging around Little Italy. You must be really hungry.
Hey Santa! I see you’re still hanging around Little Italy. You must be really hungry!

Santa can't get enough Italian food, it seems. He has already grown pale from hunger. Time for more pizza.
Santa can’t get enough to eat, it seems. He accidentally stepped into a foodless Little Italy shop and has already grown pale from hunger. Time for more pizza!

What is Frosty the Snowman up to in that window.
Wait!  What is Frosty the Snowman up to in that window?

Oh, dear! Frosty grabbed the pizza! What will Santa do.
Oh, dear! Frosty grabbed the pizza! What will Santa do?

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Ho, ho, ho! To chuckle at some perfectly silly short stories, check out my blog Foolyman Stories!

Culture and history celebrated at Festa in San Diego!

A traditional Sicilian cart on display at 2016 Festa in San Diego's Little Italy.
A traditional Sicilian cart on display at 2016 Festa in San Diego’s Little Italy.

Festa is a celebration of Italian culture and history. Every year it’s held along several blocks of India Street, in the heart of San Diego’s historic Little Italy neighborhood. Thousands turn out to enjoy music, food, and all things Italian.

Here are a few photos I snapped yesterday. They provide a taste of what Festa is all about. Read the captions for explanations, and click the images of signs in the cultural pavilion if you’d like to read them. By the way, the food and music were great. I wish this blog could convey the deliciousness of my slice of Filippi’s pizza!

Thousands turned out along several blocks of India Street for the annual celebration of Festa.
Thousands turned out along several blocks of India Street for the annual celebration of Festa.

A cultural pavilion at Festa attracted people who were interested in Little Italy's rich culture and history.
A cultural pavilion at Festa attracted people who were interested in Little Italy’s rich culture and history.

An exhibit in the cultural pavilion included old photos of life in Little Italy, a neighborhood in San Diego once associated with fishing.
An exhibit in the cultural pavilion included old photos of life in Little Italy, a neighborhood in San Diego once associated with fishing.

The Italian neighborhood remained deeply rooted in social tradition revolving around family, work and church.
The Italian neighborhood remained deeply rooted in social tradition revolving around family, work and church.

The fishing industry defined the residents' lives and included labor in boat building, net mending, and tuna and sardine canning.
The fishing industry defined the residents’ lives and included labor in boat building, net mending, and tuna and sardine canning.

Historical photos of Little Italy fishermen at work off the coast of San Diego.
Historical photos of Little Italy fishermen at work off the coast of San Diego.

Photo of young man on a boat with a very large catch.
Photo of young man on a boat with a very large catch.

Old photos of life in Little Italy include workers at a cannery and fishermen mending nets.
Old photos of life in Little Italy include workers at a cannery and fishermen mending nets.

A display at Festa includes nets and old commercial fishing gear.
A display at Festa includes nets and old commercial fishing gear.

A pillar for San Diego's Italian community, Our Lady of the Rosary Parish as endured for more than 80 years.
A pillar for San Diego’s Italian community, Our Lady of the Rosary Parish has endured for more than 80 years.

Photographs and puppets provide a glimpse of San Diego's past.
Photographs and puppets provide a glimpse of San Diego’s past.

The Columbus Day Queens are presented on stage during 2016 Festa in Little Italy.
The Columbus Day Queens are presented on stage during 2016 Festa in Little Italy.

The Sicilian Band performs during Festa in San Diego.
The Sicilian Band performs during Festa in San Diego.

A crowd admires chalk art, or Gesso Italiano, during Festa. The amazing artwork celebrated Italy's history and culture.
A crowd admires chalk art, or Gesso Italiano, during Festa. The amazing artwork celebrates Italy’s history and culture.

A vendor at Festa sells funny signs and aprons to Italy lovers.
A vendor at Festa sells funny signs and aprons to Italy lovers.

Of course, lots of pizza, pasta and other Italian food could be found up and down India Street.
Of course, lots of pizza, pasta and other Italian food could be found up and down India Street.

Chef Boyardee (Ettore Boiardi) appears on a street lamp banner in Little Italy.
Chef Boyardee (Ettore Boiardi) appears on a street lamp banner in Little Italy.

People at Festa check out some shiny new Vespas.
People at Festa check out some shiny new Vespas.

An exhibition of Italian sports cars included Maseratis and Lamborghinis.
An exhibition of Italian sports cars included Maseratis and Lamborghinis.

A kid and gondoliers at Festa. Anyone can ride elegant gondolas in San Diego at the Coronado Cays.
A kid and gondoliers at Festa. Anyone can ride elegant gondolas in San Diego at the Coronado Cays.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!