L’ Unione Italiano / Italian Club

1731 E. 7th Avenue, Ybor City, FL 33605

OWNER: Italian Club Building and Historic Trust Fund Inc.

ARCHITECT: M. Leo Elliot and B. C. Bonfoey

BUILT: 1917

SIZE: 21,200 SF


In 1894, just 8 years after Vicente Martinez Ybor founded Ybor City, a group of Italians founded L’Unione Italiana, or the Italian Club, to help the new Italian community in Ybor City to adjust to the economic and social challenges of living in a new country. At the turn of the last century, a great deal of anti-Italian sentiment could be found in the United States, and the Italian Club provided what can be seen as a safe haven from these negative views.

The beautiful three-story neo-classical building you see before you was constructed in 1918, and included a theater, cantina, a library, a large dance hall, a bowling alley, and a gym. The Italian Club also offered its members medical services, and this clubhouse boasted a doctor’s clinic and lab facility. The Club founded L’Unione Italiana Cemetery in 1896. Located at the corner of 26th Street and 24th Avenue, the cemetery chronicles over a century of Tampa’s Italian community. The club also endeavored to teach its members English and assist them with citizenship classes. For all the services they provided, the Italian Club quickly became the center of the Italian community in Tampa. Today, the Italian Club continues to support Tampa’s Italian community. They have been instrumental in forging and maintaining Tampa’s Sister City relationship with Agrigento. With more the 40,000 Italian Americans living in Tampa today, the Italian Club continues to represent the interests of the large Italian community, just as it has done for over a century.

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