On Sept. 20, the Little Italy Association of San Diego (LIA) unveiled a brand new 500-square-foot public piazza at the corner of India and West Cedar streets. Little Italy’s newest addition to the neighborhood, Piazza Giannini was introduced to the Little Italy community with a monumental ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the piazza with leaders, sponsors and community members.
Piazza Giannini was built in honor of Amadeo Giannini, a distinguished Italian-American and Californian, who founded the Bank of Italy, which he later transformed into one of the largest banks in the world, Bank of America. The dedication ceremony included commencement words from dignitaries as well as refreshments and hors d’oeuvres.
The dedication ceremony began promptly at 10 a.m. with opening remarks from LIA Chief Executive Administrator Marco Li Mandri, followed by LIA Legacy Committee Chair Charles Coradino. In addition, local dignitaries and community leaders shared commencement words with the community. Dignitaries in attendance included Councilmember Chris Ward, Bank of America San Diego Market President Rick Bregman, and Our Lady of the Rosary’s Father Joe Tabigue.
The project is dedicated to Amadeo Giannini who is known to many as “America’s Banker.” He invented branch banking in the U.S. and the concept of “social equity” – equal access to goods and services for all. Giannini’s legacy continues in San Diego’s Little Italy with a bust and monument telling his story sponsored by Bank of America. Piazza Giannini also includes concrete planters with notable quotes by Giannini, bollards and tables and chairs with umbrellas to serve as a public space for residents and visitors to gather.
Major donors to the project include Bank of America, Lara & Douglas Hamm Family, Creative House x Black Swan Hospitality, Rena & Behran Baxter, Laurel Pacific Gas, Mansour Family and The Hopper.
In the beginning of August, the LIA also announced the official opening of the Piazza della Famiglia, a grand 10,000-square-foot European-style piazza dedicated to the past, present and future families of the Little Italy neighborhood. Along with the Piazza della Famiglia, the Little Italy Food Hall opened in early July, allowing residents and visitors to enjoy beverages and food in the 10,000-square-foot open space.
Little Italy’s new community projects offer central gathering places for the public to come together and enjoy one of San Diego’s most popular neighborhoods.
To stay connected with Little Italy, check out what’s going on in the neighborhood by following us on Instagram and Twitter: @LittleItalySD and Facebook: LittleItalySD. To learn more about Piazza Giannini and Little Italy Association, visit LittleItalySD.com.
—Christopher Gomez has been Little Italy’s district manager since 2000. Reach him at email@example.com.