THE ITALIANS IN YBOR
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
Museum is housed in the
old Ferlita Bakery.
Most 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.
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 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