The Quilietti Family

The story of a Scots Italian family

4. QUILIETTI Augusto Niccolao 1870-1904 –


Augusto’s father Leonardo was a foundling baby. He was born in Vorno, just south of Lucca, Tuscany in 1838. His father’s name was not recorded. His mother Maria Maddalena Franchi, who was a widow, died on the day he was born. Widows having children in those days out of wedlock, [and a few years after the death of her husband] was frowned upon by the Catholic Church in those days. The person who handed the baby over to the Church in Lucca was Iacopo Olivieri. This line is only an assumption but the village of Vorno where Leonardo was born has many Olivieri family members even today. Leonardo remained in the orphanage until he was 16 or so and would have been taught a trade. He moved up to Barga about 50 miles or so north from Lucca. For the first 16 or so years of his life outside the orphanage it is unclear where he went but the stories go that it was to the marble mines in Carrera near Barga.
Leonardo did not marry until he was 28 at the Church of St. Nicolo’ in Castelvecchio [Pascoli] in the Province of Lucca, near Barga in Tuscany.

This is the record of the marriage between Leonardo Quilietti and Eletta Brucciani in November 1866. Their first child Luigi Adolfo was born the following winter. He died in early infancy.
This is the Church of St. Nicolo’ in Castelvecchio Pascoli. The Quilietti family were all baptised here.
Castelvecchio [Pascoli] census entry showing the family Quilietti [Quiglietti] with Leonardo born 1835, his wife Eletta Brucciani 1848, daughter of Giuseppe Brucciani. Their children, Emilio 1838, Augusto 1870, Maria Domenica 1876, Giuseppe 1879, Adolfo, 1884 and Armenia 1876.
Emilio and Augusto came to Scotland.
The other children eventually to Rhode Island, USA.
Baptism record of Augusto Niccoloa Quilietti. Taken in 2005 on a visit to
the Church in Castelvecchio
The site of the Quilietti Casa 64 in Castelvecchio. With family members outside

In Castelvecchio


Augusto and Emilio Quilietti. Photograph taken in Edinburgh 1893 at the marriage between Augusto and Francesca Arpino.

What we know is that Emilio, the eldest son was drafted into the Army for his service when he was 15 as he was absent from the village census in 1883. We have a photograph of Emilio at this time in his uniform. We have no evidence that Augusto served but it was the rules surrounding national service at this time were that all young men were to serve in the new Unified Army. They could have been sent to any of the regions in Italy to do so.

We know that the two brothers arrived in Scotland circa 1888. In Edinburgh at this time was their aunt, their mother’s sister. Her name was Maria Domenica Clementina Brucciani. She had moved to Edinburgh with her husband Pietro Donati. These two had been married in Castelvecchio. Pietro was a marble sculptor and took up the trade of Plastering and Terrazzo having found premises in Chambers Street in Edinburgh. The 1891 Scottish census shows the Donati family residing at 137 Canongate and Pietro’s occupation as figure maker. By 1901 the family had moved to East Preston Street. Maria Domenica who was 19 years his junior had now become a teacher and he was still described as a figure maker.

The Donati family had a great role to play in the two Quilietti brothers arriving in Edinburgh. They worked with their uncle until their own opportunities arose and until they married and settled with their spouses and families.

They married in the Church of the Sacred Heart in Lauriston Street, Edinburgh. Augusto age 20 and Francesca also 20. Leonardo Quilietti and Benedetto Arpino both interestingly described as an Ice Cream Vendors. Probably clerical errors. Francesca’s parents Benedetto Arpino and Benedetta Cascarino. Her parents came to Scotland having worked their way up through the Midlands of England. After a scandal which resulted in a court case in England the family moved up to the Grassmarket in Edinburgh.

This branch of the Arpino family came from Sant Elia Fiumerapido, Lazio, with nearby village of Arpino. The family were travelling musicians or organ grinders. There was a large family many of whom settled in and around the Edinburgh area.

The Arpino family were residing at 85 Grassmarket, Edinburgh and they had a flat above the shop which was a confectioners shop at the time.   It was here that the newly weds were to live at first until the birth of their daughter Angelina Quilietti who was born at 85 Grassmarket on 6th April the following year.


Family portrait taken in Edinburgh before Augusto died in 1904. The couple had two children, the first daughter Ermennia dying in infancy. She is buried in Easter Road Cemetery in Edinburgh, beside her uncle Emilio.

In the 1901 Scottish Cencus finds Augusto, Francesca and Angelina residing at 1 Ramsay’s Close, Canongate, Edinburgh.   Residing with them at this time was a young Italian girl who was described as a ‘servant’.

Augusto’s transgression into the confectionery and ice cream and catering business  from the stucco trade was of course helped along by his new family.  The Arpino family were by this time well established in the confectionery trade and made ice cream, tablets and chocolates.  They also started to sell fish and chips and the shop at 89 Grassmarket is still a Chippi today.

THE ARPINO family with Giuseppe

After Emilio died Giuseppe and Adolfo Quilietti along with Pietro Dante, their cousin and brother-in-law, visited him here in Scotland.   They were photographed at a photographer’s studio on the South Bridge to mark the occassion.

This may have been Augusto’s wedding in 1893 but the dates with the ages do not add up. So the Quilietti brothers in Edinburgh for a wedding and Augusto looking more like 30. So wedding unknown. Emilio had already died in 1898.

Three of the Quilietti brothers were here in Scotland.  It would be the last time they were together as Augusto, who looked more like his own father than any of his siblings,  was to die tragically in the year 1904 of typhoid fever.  He died at 1 Ramsay’s Close, Canongate, Edinburgh on 13th May 1904 age 33 years.

He was lain to rest in the Easter Road Cemetery, Section C. Lair 397.   The stone has now gone registered as ‘missing’ by the Eastern Cemetery Administration.  The stone was apparently taken away for non-payment of cemetery fees in the year 1983.

You have to look closely but the1905 Valuation Roll finds Francesca Quilietti at 5 Canongate with occupation as Restaurant Keeper. The new Parliament now occupies this site.

After the death of Augusto his widow and daughter went to live in Paris where Francesca had close family.  She gained employment at this time in the glass-manufacturing industry.  During their stay in Paris Angelina Quilietti learned to speak French. It was whilst in France that she met Wallace Bain, a Commercial Traveller visiting France from England, where he was born. They became romantically involved and the returned to Edinburgh where Francesca and he married this time into the United Free Church of Scotland. Wallace became a butcher in later life.

Francesca died in the year 1943 and is buried with her first husband Augusto Quilietti in the family plot in Easter Road Cemetery, Edinburgh.

Their daughter Angelina was to marry Giovanni Battista Arpino in the year 1911 in the same Church as her father and mother, the Church of the Sacred Heart in Lauriston, Edinburgh.

Angelina Quilietti with her husband Giovanni Arpino and their children Mary and Charles
Angelina’s lines
Giovanni’s lines
The shop 89 Grassmarket with the flat above
The shop 89 Grassmarket with the flat above

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