Sabella Custom Historic Tours
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What to see and do in Ybor City and Tampa.

Ybor City

“National Historic Landmark District”
       Vicente Martinez Ybor founded this vibrant and effervescent community, dubbed the “Latin Quarter” by the early “Anglos”. It became a major producer of the world famous cigars known as “Havana Clears” that put Tampa and Ybor City on the map. It also attracted the many diverse groups of immigrants who came to work in the “cigar industry” and gave Ybor City the old world charm that is still manifested today in its buildings, wrought iron balconies, restaurants, cafes and historical sites.

       Most tours begin at the Ybor City State Museum Complex that includes the Ferlita Bakery Building, ”Las Casitas”, the Museum Garden and Grounds and the Museum Store which hosts a master cigar roller.

       Our guides will personally escort you through the museum complex and narrate the story of Vicente Martinez Ybor and how Ybor City caused Tampa to come to be hailed as the “Cigar Capital of the World”.

       Other fascinating facts include the story of Jose Marti and Ybor City as the “Cradle of the Cuban Revolution” and the coming of Teddy Roosevelt and the “Rough riders” as Tampa and Ybor became the main port of deportation for American troops in the Spanish American War.

       After the museum tour we will escort you to any of the following historic sites that may be of interest to the group and continue to unfold the history of Ybor City.

Tour of Tampa

       Our tours may also include trips across the river to Tampa. It is here that the story begins as Tampa developed from a fishing village to a vibrant metropolis. Of great interest is the story of the other entrepreneur, Henry B. Plant, who brought the railroad to Tampa and built the Tampa Bay Hotel.
       Many more historic sites and “places of interest” can be visited and can accommodate the interests of your group and we will be glad to suggest an itinerary to meet your needs.

To receive more information about Tampa and Ybor City the following resources are available:

  • Tampa Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Ybor City Chamber of Commerce
  • Ybor City Museum State Park: Florida Environment Department of Environmental Protection
  • Teaching Guides: Lesson Plans
  • City of Tampa
  • Historic Preservation in ybor City: Historic Preservation-Maps-Ybor City
  • National Historic Landmark Program:Ybor City Historic District
  • Tampa Bay History Center
  • Tampa Museum of ArtUSF: Tampa special Collections at the Center for Florida Studies

Social Clubs:

  • Centro Asturiano
  • Italian Club
  • Cuban Club
  • Marti Maceo Club

Henry B. Plant Museum
Tampa Theatre

Sample Tours

Sample Tour #1: Museum Tour and Social Club-Centro Asturiano

Welcome to ybor city a national historic landmark district.
       Your guides are grandchildren of the immigrants who came to tampa/ybor city seeking opportunities to work and achieve the American dream.  Therefore we, as direct descendents, understand Tampa’s Latin culture and thank you for the opportunity to offer you a personal account of ybor city and tampa history.

9:30-10:30 Your guides will be waiting for you at the ybor city museum state park


Los museos:

  • Ferlita Bakery
    • You will tour the history museum, housed in the historic landmark of the ferlita bakery.  It interprets the founding of ybor city from 1886 to the 1930’s.  The immigrant story of the Cubans, Spanish, Italians, Germans and Jewish settlers from Eastern Europe is explained along with the history of the founding of the cigar industry, Jose Marti and the Spanish American war.
  • La Casita
    • Cigar maker’s house museum is an 1895 house, which was relocated to the site. It is typical of the many houses built by v.m. ybor for his workers, los tabaqueros, who labored in the factories.  It is furnished with the typical and necessary items of the period.
  • Replica of a European Style Garden
    • See the many indigenous trees, plants and flowers in the tranquil setting in the museum garden.
10:45-11:30 (Onboard bus)


  • El Centro Asturiano de Tampa
    • Built in 1914 the building is listed on the national register of historic places. It was hailed at the time as “the most beautiful building in the south”. Built by Spanish immigrants from the province of Asturias in Spain it served, as did ybor city’s other social/mutual aid societies, as a way station for immigrants seeking to enter mainstream American life.  The members today include descendents of these immigrants and are determined to preserve and promote their heritage by preserving the beautiful three story yellow brick and stone building in the renaissance Mediterranean style.
11: 45-12:00 (Onboard bus)


  • Jose Marti Park, Vicente Martinez ybor cigar factory, el pasaje, el circulo cubano
    • A short walk from ybor square will take you to these very historic sites and buildings on the national register of historic places. This is where Vicente Martinez ybor built his cigar factory and the Cuban patriot Jose Marti visited ybor city. Bring a camera for your picture on the famous steps of the v.m. ybor factory where Jose Marti stirred a revolution against the Spanish empire.


Sample Tour #2: Riding Tour of the Historic District


11:00A.M. Meet your Guides At the Bus Zone


Your guides will board your bus at the boarding zone on 9th Avenue located between 16th street and 17th street. There is a reserved space for bus boarding on the south side of the street and is marked with a sign.

Bienvenidos!  You will be touring Ybor City, a recognized National Historic Landmark District.  Many of the landmarks that you will see today are on the National Register of  Historic Places.  Ybor City is a unique district where early Spanish, Cuban, Italian, German and Jewish immigrants  came at the end of the 19th century and contributed to a vibrant and colorful society based on the Cigar Industry.  Vicente Martinez Ybor is credited with bringing this very important industry to the area in 1896.

Your ride will begin on  9th Avenue and go East where you will see original “Casitas” or cigar makers houses moved to this site for the Ybor State Museum complex.
The Ferlita Bakery houses the Ybor City State Museum. It was the site of one of the many bakeries that provided the residents of Ybor City with the famous Cuban Bread.
 On the right is Centennial Park dedicated to the immigrants whose names appear on the wall.

As your bus turns onto 19th street you will view a typical streetscape of original Bungalows moved here for preservation.

As your bus turns onto Eighth Avenue you will see the Electric Streetcar  that connects Ybor City to downtown.  The streetcar ran on Seventh Avenue in the old days.

Your bus will turn right at 21st street and will turn right again onto the famous “La Setima” or Seventh Avenue, which was the commercial street for the residents. As you turn onto Seventh Avenue you will see on the Southeast corner the famous “Columbia” Restaurant. It was started on this location in 1905 and is in the fifth generation of family ownership. It is the largest Spanish Restaurant in the world.

As you cruise down “La Setima” you will experience a street scene that takes you back in time with beautiful brick buildings, balconies and street lamps where the people of Ybor shopped, dined and wined long ago.
Some of the sites your guides will point out to you are:
Naviera Coffee Mill, Tropicana, L’Unione Italiana or the Italian Club.
Kress Department Store, La France in the Marcos Building, Central Ybor Complex, Centro Espanol, Ritz Theatre,  Las Novedades and to the south the restored Florida Brewery which today houses the Law firm of Swope Rodante.

Your bus will turn right onto Nebraska Avenue where you will see the Centro Astruiano once called the most beautiful building in the south and on the National Register of Historic Places. 

As you bus turns right onto Palm Avenue look to the left where you will see a white building that was once the German American Club.

Your tour continues on Palm Avenue and turns right onto Fourteenth Street of La Avenida de Cuba.

This is a significantly historic street and your guides will tell you about the historic sites:
El Circulo Cubano, El Pasaje, Don Vicente Martinez Ybor Cigar Factory and the original Ybor Land Development building that today houses the beautiful Don Vicente Inn.
On the steps of the Ybor Factory the Cuban Patriot, Jose Marti, gave a famous speech that eventually led to a revolution in Cuba. This event was soon followed by the U.S. involvement in the Spanish American War.

Your bus will continue to Eighth Avenue and turn left, as it does you should look to the right down Eighth Avenue where  Jose Marti Park stands today. The money for the park was donated in part by the people of Cuba and contains soil from each of the provinces of Cuba.

Your bus will continue to 15th street and turn left at the light and then will turn right onto 9th Avenue.  Your guides will leave you at the Bus Boarding Zone where they stepped on.