L’Unione Italiana, “The Italian Club” in Ybor City just north of downtown Tampa, FL, is in this great little neighborhood with a rich history of immigration from Latin countries like Sicily, Italy and Cuba. Emigrants from Sicily’s Magazzolo Valley arrived by way of New Orleans and in 1894 united to establish the club as a way of overcoming the social and economic challenges they faced in Southern Italy and Sicily.
The club’s charter members consisted of 116 Sicilians and Italians, eight Spanish immigrants and others with “good moral standing, aged 14-50,” many of whom worked together at one of the local cigar factories. These immigrants brought with them courage, imagination, resiliency, and a fierce pride in their culture and achievements. During the 1890’s to 1930’s, 90 percent of