“I am most passionate about bringing my knowledge [of tasting] to consumers, “said an enthusiastic Orietta Gianjorio, a native Italian from Rome,...
Although San Diego’s Little Italy is almost 100 years old, it has never seen the growth it is experiencing lately.
Today it has become evident that Italy is coming to San Diego. New restaurants have come, and some have gone, but today the Little Italy Association, Officers of the Board; President Steve Galasso, Vice President Danny Moceri Secretary Luke Vinci and Treasurer Lou Palestini along with Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Council President, Todd Gloria and H.G Fenton, President and CEO Mike Neal announced plans for their biggest endeavor yet, Piazza Famiglia.
Neal, kicked off today’s Piazza Famiglia ground breaking ceremony by introducing and thanking all those present, both in the audience and on the stage, who were also responsible for this new and greatest development.
“It is a privilege and an honor to be here today,” began Neal, adding “This ground breaking for Piazza Famiglia is a project that will be the heart of the community. The president of the 108 year old property management company credited Marco Li Mandri, President of New City America, Inc. with the vision for the forthcoming project. “This is a plan inspired by many of the great piazzas in Italy and Europe,” concluded Neal, turning the podium over to Mayor Faulconer.
“We are thankful to the residents here who believe so strongly in this, their neighborhood, began the mayor. “This dedicated 10,000 square feet will be a world class public space,” he stated. “Thanks to the Little Association for wanting to create this wonderful, public livable space, where people will be able to walk, shop and share activities. Thank you for demanding excellence.”
With its established long record of working in the downtown communities, H.G Fenton will concentrate on transforming West Date Street, between Columbia and India Streets into a public replica of historic Italian Piazzas. It will serve to be a meeting, shopping and cultural new “heart” of Little Italy. Plans for classic Italian architectural details and design, and attractive landscaping will include a huge water fountain and attractive seating provisions. It will also serve to host markets, concerts and numerous cultural events, many of which are already in the dream stages.
Li Mandri took the podium next and humbly thanked the mayor, adding, “I’m honored and touched, but this project is not about me,” he said. “It’s all about the project and the “Is this project going to be inconvenient, yes, but life is inconvenient,” quipped Li Mandri, joking that “we’re taking the space from cars and giving it back to the people.
In a more somber tone, Li Mandri stated, “This is about the families of Little Italy, the past, present and future. He next outlined the terrific view people would have of the San Diego harbor, home and origins of the early fishermen who came from Italy to settle in this coastal town of San Diego. He concluded with a song lyric from John Lennon, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
Members of the Little Italy Association, along with the mayor lined up, donned white construction hats and picked up their shovels for the honorary ground breaking ceremony. Father Tabique blessed them by sprinkling them with holy water and a blessing before they sunk their shovels into the freshly prepared soil and threw three feet in front of them. This was a posed camera shot, and several followed allowing all to participate in the making of this historic event.
Piazza Famiglia is being made possible through the work of the many different people and organizations within Little Italy. The original idea was the community’s joining together to better it. The project was initially approved by the San Diego Council in 2014 in collaboration with the Little Italy Association, H.G. Fenton and the community as a whole.
In a press release it is stated that the piazza will be dedicated to all of the families who are part of the district, from those who created Little Italy decades ago, to the residents who helped to create the Little Italy of today.