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!

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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!

Some humorous photos in Little Italy!

Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.
Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.

I was chuckling this morning as I walked through Little Italy.

Here are half a dozen humorous photos!

A friendly attendant stands by in a window of Little Italy's Loading Dock.
A friendly attendant stands by in a window of Little Italy’s Loading Dock.
Peculiar figure above the front windows of Architectural Salvage.
Whimsical figure above the front windows of Architectural Salvage.
Glittery merchandise like a pot of gold in the window of Blick Art Materials.
Glittery merchandise like a pot of gold in the window of Blick Art Materials.
Two neighbors have a friendly oink over their fence.
Two neighbors have a friendly oink over the fence.
There are many bars in Little Italy. There is also a Doggie Bar.
There are many bars in Little Italy. There is also a Doggie Bar.

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!

A silvery, sparkling tree in Little Italy.

Stand in certain spots on the North Embarcadero, look east toward Little Italy, and your eyes might be dazzled by a sparkling tree on a large wall.

The glittery abstract tree decorates the west side of the Broadstone Little Italy building, near the corner of Grape Street and California Street. The branches of the mirror mosaic rise above train and trolley tracks. As the sun descends toward San Diego Bay, the silvery tree really shimmers and shines.

I’ve learned that the artist’s name is Stephanie Clair and that her piece is called The Shimmer Tree!

The Shimmer Tree, public art in San Diego's Little Italy neighborhood by Stephanie Clair.
The Shimmer Tree, public art in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood by Stephanie Clair.

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!

More fun artwork discovered in Little Italy!

Cool sunglasses reflect images from Little Italy.
Cool sunglasses reflect images from Little Italy.

Early yesterday morning I enjoyed a long walk through the streets of Little Italy. I discovered some fun artwork that I hadn’t previously photographed!

An owl watches over India Street.
An owl watches over India Street.
Devils roll some very tempting donuts.
Devils roll some very tempting donuts.
A sculpted cherub balances a potted plant atop its head.
A sculpted cherub balances a potted plant atop its head.
A half-painted dumpster.
A spray painted dumpster.
Awesome street art on one corner of a Little Italy building.
Awesome street art on one corner of a Little Italy building.
The San Diego Trolley has arrived in dynamic Lil Italy!
It appears the San Diego Trolley has arrived in dynamic Lil 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!

House in Little Italy celebrates Thanksgiving!

This morning during my walk to the Little Italy trolley station I was drawn to a couple of newly painted houses on State Street.

As I got nearer I noticed a fun display on one porch that celebrates Thanksgiving!

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!

Photos of Little Italy’s new Piazza Giannini.

The new Piazza Giannini, at the corner of India and Cedar Street in downtown San Diego.
The new Piazza Giannini, at the corner of India and Cedar Street in downtown San Diego.

A new public space opened last month in downtown’s Little Italy neighborhood. Piazza Giannini, located at the corner of India Street and West Cedar Street, is a community gathering place that pays tribute to a famous Italian American who invented many of the conveniences of modern banking.

Born in San Jose, A.P. Giannini was a big believer in California. He started the Bank of Italy in San Francisco, and dedicated it to ordinary middle class Americans and hardworking immigrants that other banks wouldn’t serve. Believing in equal access to all, the Bank of Italy opened hundreds of branches throughout the state. Eventually it became Bank of America.

A sign at Piazza Giannini explains how donors can purchase plaques in this new public space.
A sign at Piazza Giannini explains how donors can purchase plaques in this new public space.
Amadeo P. Giannini was born in San Jose to Italian immigrants. He believed California and its citizens could lead the country to prosperity.
Amadeo P. Giannini was born in San Jose to Italian immigrants. He believed California and its citizens could lead the country to prosperity.
. . . we should bend increasing efforts to demonstrate the equality that underlies the American philosophy.
. . . we should bend increasing efforts to demonstrate the equality that underlies the American philosophy.
. . . No man actually ever owns fortune--it owns him.
. . . No man actually ever owns fortune–it owns him.
Serving the needs of others is the only legitimate business today.
Serving the needs of others is the only legitimate business today.
A streetlamp banner in San Diego's Little Italy pays tribute to Amadeo Giannini, father of modern banking.
A streetlamp banner in San Diego’s Little Italy pays tribute to Amadeo Giannini, father of modern banking.
A banker should consider himself a servant of the people, a servant of the community.
A banker should consider himself a servant of the people, a servant of the community.
The bronze bust of Amadeo Pietro Giannini at Piazza Giannini in Little Italy.
The bronze bust of Amadeo Pietro Giannini at Piazza Giannini in 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!