This section will contain text and photographs of the Italians in early Ybor City.

Ybor City's early Italian population did not come from large cities like Rome or Florence; they did not come from a cigar making background; and they did not even have a manufacturing background or goal. Yet, the Italians became a big part of the Ybor City story. The Ybor City State Museum is housed in the old Ferlita Bakery.

Ybor City State Museum in Ferlita BakeryMost of Tampa's early Italians came from Santo Stefano Quisquina, a farming town in Southern Sicily, where goats and sheep were herded and the harvest was almonds, not wine. Despite these agricultural roots, they shared like the Cubans a resentment to wealthy landowners (latifondi), who controlled most of the land.
sign at Ybor City State MuseumThey also had a mercantile class for goats and sheep meant cheese making and woolen trade. I town, landlords, merchants, and the mafiosi made life miserable. By the 1870's groups of workers formed leagues  (fasci dei lavoratori) to protest conditions in Sicily. In 1894, the King crushed the movement, just like the Spanish halting Cuban revolts three thousand miles away.
The ITalian Club in Ybor City (Tampa)

The formation of the ITALIAN CLUB on 7th Avenue marked an important step in achieving political and economic status. The Italians had come to Florida for farming jobs and had entered Ybor's cigar industry at the lowest levels. The Italians had come mainly as families and the increased revenue, the education of children, and entrance into other trades boosted income. the Italian Club of Ybor City in the 1920's