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This Florida City Has Rich Mob History & You Can Visit Where The Mobsters Hung Out

Some of the places are still open today!

Contributing Writer, Florida
The Ybor City arch.

The Ybor City arch.

Tampa Bay is probably best known for its beautiful clear-water beaches, world-class theme parks and sports teams, but it also has a unique history — one that is widely connected to a mafia past.

You can learn more about the city's unique history and connection to the mob through an interactive Tampa Mafia Tour, or you can just visit these places yourself, as the almost two-hour walking excursion is shut down for the summer due to the heat.

From restaurants to secret tunnels, you can find out about those who walked the streets and followed leaders, like Santo Trafficante Jr., a man who, according to The Mob Museum, was one of the top gangsters in this area.

According to the tour's website, many of the historical places where local mobsters hung out remain open for you to visit, like Donatello Italian Restaurant.

Another place that is still standing today is the famous dining spot, Columbia Restaurant. It's widely known in the historical streets of Ybor City, and members of the Trafficante family reportedly used to eat there.

Some FBI agents also used to sit at those tables, and it stands today as a well-known place to get a delicious cuisine.

There's also a hidden underground system of tunnels in Ybor City where these characters were rumored to have smuggled liquor between speakeasies during the Prohibition Era — although the Tampa Bay Times reported in 2018 that these tunnels were actually built in the late 19th century as sewers.

While the tunnels are closed to visitors, Tampa Mafia promises you'll learn about them on their tour.

The tour starts back up in September, and if you're a group of 10 or more people, you can even book a private tour on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

A Tampa historian from the Mob Museum Advisory Council will guide you through the 1-mile, 1.5- to 2-hour walking tour and tell you all of the tales of Tampa's dark past.

Tampa Mafia Tour

Price: $30

Address: Tour starts at 1523 E. 7th Ave., Tampa, FL

When: Starting in September 2022

Why You Need To Go: This tour is an exciting way to get to know the Ybor City area of Tampa Bay. It's a fun way to learn the rich mobster history that paints the town and see things you otherwise wouldn't have known were a part of this past.

Accessibility: Wheelchair/stroller accessible


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