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Photographing San Diego’s Little Italy

Piazza Basilone with Little Italy sign in distance
Piazza Basilone with Little Italy sign in distance

Sandwiched between I-5 and the Pacific Coast Highway and bordered by Laurel and Ash streets, you can find ‘Little Italy’, San Diego’s most vibrant and photogenic ethnic neighborhood.

Start your photo trek on India Street which features myriad excellent restaurants and watering holes of various reputes. After shooting the sidewalk cafes and shops on India, wander a block in any direction to find architecture worth hours of shooting. You may choose the Spanish Colonial County Administration Center, new modern condos, or exuberantly painted houses converted into small businesses.

Use the wildly colored businesses for spectacular portrait backdrops. Or, walk up near Date and State streets to find a park and an amphitheater which provide more usual backdrops.

There are placards on buildings and banners on posts that celebrate Italians’ contributions to their adopted homeland; scan them as you pass by. But, spend serious time reading the memorial at ‘Piazza Basilone’. Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone was the first enlisted Marine in WWII to receive the Medal of Honor and live to tell of it. He was the only man to receive the Medal of Honor AND the Navy Cross for combat in WWII.

Oh, and plan your shoot around lunch or dinner time.


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