Interactive app wins preservation award

Posted: January 6th, 2017 | Columnists, Featured, Little Italy News | No Comments

Offering ‘a glimpse of the past using the technology of today’

By Chris Gomez | Little Italy News

Little Italy Association’s mobile application, created to bring the neighborhood’s ancestors’ stories to life through augmented reality and historic tours around the community, is putting Little Italy on the digital map!

The Little Italy San Diego Interactive Mobile App has had great success this past year and it was recently awarded one of the Governor’s annual preservation awards.

Presented by the state of California since 1986, the Historic Preservation Award is given each year to worthy recipients, recognizing their outstanding achievements and innovations in the field of historical preservation.

The Little Italy app was developed by Guru, an experiential technology company that creates innovative apps and solutions for cultural institutions.

The app allows visitors of all ages to tour the neighborhood and receive broad overviews of the origins of Little Italy from the 16th to the 20th century, through audio-guided tours, narratives, sound bites, videos, photos and the technology to bring users augmented reality.

The Little Italy Association won a Governor’s Historic Preservation Award from the state of California this year for their Little Italy Interactive Mobile App. (Courtesy LIA)

The state-of-the-art augmented reality technology in the app brings Little Italy’s rich diverse heritage to life, from the early immigration of Italian-Americans, to the years they spent building the community, to what it is today.

The tours provide a virtual window into the Italian immigrant experience by allowing the user to hear personal anecdotes and memories, as told by some of the oldest residents of Little Italy.

One of the best parts about the mobile app is that anyone can use it. For children, an animated child-mascot, Danny Boy, excites and leads visitors around the neighborhood to experience videos, photographs, games and a quiz.

For adults, the app provides a guide to all the area’s landmarks, restaurants and other artistic and cultural offerings. Through the Little Italy app, San Diego’s Little Italy is transformed into a walkable museum, providing visitors a glimpse of the past by using the technology of today.

Little Italy Association’s goal is to preserve the history of the neighborhood and share the stories of the ancestors who founded the Little Italy community through the fishing industry and local Italian businesses, all while making it exciting and fun.

The Little Italy app brings an exciting new element to storytelling and shares the neighborhood’s traditions and history with the world — making it possible to keep the Italian culture alive for future generation to come.

To find out more information on the Little Italy San Diego Interactive Mobile App, visit To stay connected with us follow us on Instagram and Twitter @LittleItalySD and Facebook/San Diego Little Italy.

—Christopher Gomez has been Little Italy’s district manager since 2000. Reach him at

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