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Flag of Italy
Flag of Cuba

Italian immigration into Cuba was minor in comparison with other waves of Italian emigration to the Americas, where a few thousand Italians emigrated to Cuba, compared to the millions that went to Argentina, Brazil and the United States.


Statue of La República at El Capitolio, 15 metres high, sculpted 1929 by Italian Angelo Zanelli

After Cristoforo Colombo (Italian from Genoa), discovered Cuba in 1492, the first Italians arrived with the Spanish conquistadores. Some were sailors and soldiers of fortune but most were missionaries. In 1605 shipwrecked Italian sailors founded the city of Mantua, Cuba in the far west of the island.[1] These sailors came from the Genoa and Venice areas.[2]

Only in the mid-19th century did there develop a small Italian community in Cuba: they were mostly people of culture, architects, engineers, painters and artists and their families. They were called to Cuba to work in the development of the churches, monuments and government buildings in Havana. In 1884 these first Italian Cubans founded the "Sociedad de Socorro Mutuo" (Society of Mutual Aid) and in 1891 the "Sociedad de Beneficiencia" to help the neediest among them. At the beginning of the 20th century socialist associations were formed but these were strongly opposed with the Catholic-aligned authorities. Some Italian Cubans participated actively in the Cuban wars of independence, such as Oreste Ferrara editor of the national El Heraldo de Cuba newspaper.[3][4]

In 1931, according to the Cuban census, there were 1178 people with an Italian passport in Cuba.[5] Of these Italians, 80 lived in Pinar del Río Province, 129 in Oriente Province, 762 in Havana, 30 in Matanzas Province, 103 in Las Villas Province and 74 in Camagüey Province.[6]

During WWII, Italy and Cuba broke off diplomatic relations and some Italian Cubans were jailed accused of sympathizing with Italy. In 1941, nine such Italians were jailed on Isla de Pinos (now called Isla de la Juventud; they were: Principe Camillo Ruspoli (rancher), Doctor Attilio di Gregorio (physician), Francesco Savonelli (businessman), Felice Siervo (jeweller), Erminio Tarditi (businessman), Bruni Pasquale (shoemaker), Doctor Pasquale Fontanella (physician), Francesco Grosso (tailor) y Piero Rosbochi (businessman). All were released in November 1943. [7]

In 2008, there were 2340 people in the Italian Cuban community, concentrated in Havana and tourist areas such as Varadero. One of the most famous is architect Roberto Gottardi, designer of the "Escuela de Artes Escénicas" (Scenic Arts School) in Havana.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mantua, an Italian footprint in Cuba (en ingles)
  2. ^ En los registros de las parroquias de Mantua se encuentran los apellidos Ferrari, Pitaluga, Fiorenzana y otros."Italianos en Mantua". Bohemia, a.87, n.10, 14 mayo 1995, pp.18-19.
  3. ^ Biografía de Oreste Ferrara
  4. ^ Black Political Activism and the Cuban Republic, Melina Pappademos, p.153
  5. ^ Francesco Tamburini. "La colonia italiana di Cuba (1884-1902)"(en italiano)
  6. ^ Angela Oramas Camero. "Italianos en Cuba", Bohemia, a.89, n.11, 24 mayo 1997, pp.24-25
  7. ^ ASDMAE, Affari Politici (1931-1945),Cuba, b.4, doc.n.0040,4 gennaio 1943; Appunto per la Direzione Generale AffariGenerali: Italianos libertados, Embajada española en La Habana, 12 novembre 1943
  8. ^ Roberto Gottardi´s National art school - Paradise lost?


  • Ervantes-Rodriguez. International Migration in Cuba: Accumulation, Imperial Designs, and Transnational Social Fields. Max Kade German-American Research Institute Series. Publisher Penn State Press, 2011 ISBN 0-271-03539-0
  • Favero, Luigi e Tassello, Graziano. Cent'anni di emigrazione italiana (1861 - 1961) CSER. Roma, 1981

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Cuban — Please support Wikipedia.
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129 news items

The Guardian

The Guardian
Mon, 02 Nov 2015 07:37:17 -0800

Exactly a century ago, La Segunda Central Bakery founder Juan Moré started hawking crispy loaves to the Italian, Cuban and Spanish workers in Ybor City's cigar factories. The rolls were sliced open and packed thick with cured meats, pickles and mustard ...


Wed, 23 Sep 2015 00:03:18 -0700

Entertainment. FOODIE EMPIRE: An Italian-Cuban restaurant serves lasagna and ropa vieja. Two area fundraisers will benefit Inland breast cancer resources and Riverside's Greek Festival returns.

News & Observer (blog)

News & Observer (blog)
Mon, 03 Aug 2015 15:44:31 -0700

Here's a weekly roundup of upcoming food events, cooking classes, food tours, wine tastings and farmers markets across the Triangle. Don't see your event listed here? You need to enter it at triangle.com. If you would like instructions on how to enter ...


Thu, 18 Jun 2015 08:52:57 -0700

Freeport is saying ciao and ¡hola! to Tony Cuban Cucina & Cocktails, the new hybrid Italian-Cuban restaurant that's taken over the waterside spot that, since 2009, hosted the seafood-centric Wildfish. The new restaurant's Cuban-born chef/owner, Frank ...


Wed, 19 Aug 2015 06:41:15 -0700

Crispy eggplant frittes are served at Tony Cuban Cucina & Cocktails in Freeport. (Credit: Marisol Diaz). Midday on the deck of Tony Cuban in Freeport: Water view, soft breezes, lively food and gracious service. If only the promise shown that weekday ...

Houston Press (blog)

Houston Press (blog)
Thu, 17 Dec 2009 13:14:47 -0800

While the Akaushi burger at Logan Farms didn't knock my socks off, a new sandwich there called the "Cuban pesto" did. It's not hard to imagine that a roast pork, ham and cheese sandwich would taste pretty damn good with the Italian paste of garlic ...


Wed, 30 Sep 2015 14:00:00 -0700

Big O' Cafe — Italian/Cuban casual dining. Fri: Cuban special dinner. Open daily. 80 Ottawa Ave. NW, 451-1887, bigospizzas.com. $$. Bistro Bella Vita — Mediterranean cuisine made with fresh ingredients purchased from local farmers. Open daily ...


Mon, 19 Oct 2015 14:30:19 -0700

Jackson Meats and Deli will supply Italian, Cuban, and pesto chicken paninis as well as artisanal cheese plate ($12.50) and a charcuterie board ($15.50). There are also items as varied as toasted sesame edamame ($7) to cranberry quinoa salad with ...

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