|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
The historic marker says:
L'Unione Italiana, founded in 1894 in Ybor City, institutionalized the Italian funeral in Tampa when in 1896 it purchased this property from the prominent African-American Armwood family and dedicated it as a cemetery. The first Italians were buried here in 1893. Also buried here is Blanche Armwood (1890-1939), a nationally known educator. The Italian cemetery includes a parcel belonging to the Societa de Mutuo Soccorso (Mutual Aid Society). Ceramic photographs on grave markers and tombstones inscribed in Sicilian and Italian pay homage to Sicily, where the stonecutters perfected their craft in granite and marble. A cherished set of rituals governed the Italian funeral. Hundreds of people walked in a cortege, often pausing for a final tribute in front of the deceased's house and the Italian Club where flags of Italy and the United States stood at half mast. A brass band led them to the cemetery followed by family and paesani (countrymen). This ritual celebrated the decedent's service to the community. In the early years, each club member contributed one dollar to the bereaved family. Later, the club established a $300 survivor benefit.