The town (then called Alta Villa) was established in 1915 by Italian immigrants from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Chicago, Illinois. The founding Italian families built St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in the village. Little Italy was once home to four separate wineries established by Italian-American families: the Segalla Winery, Balsam Winery, Solda Winery, and Vaccari Winery. The wineries grew slowly selling grapes publicly and alcohol clandestinely during Prohibition. Winery production in the area died out after World War II.