The Quilietti Family

The story of a Scots Italian family

ARPINO Francesca Julietta 1873-1943

Francesca Arpino was born in 1873 in Sant’Elia Fiumerapido, a small town and Commune in the Province of Frosinone in Lazio, Italy. Her father, Benedetto Arpino, was 40, and her mother, Benedetta Francato Cascarino, was 34. The youngest of six or seven. children, her elder siblings being Michelangella, Michael Angelo, Nicolo, Maria Josephine and Giuseppe. There may have also been an Angelo.

A bit about Francesca’s roots and her family

Their family moved from Sant Elia Fiumarapido at first through France where some of the family remained. Then Benedetto and his line moved Bradford in England sometime in the 1880s. His brother and family also moved with them to England.

Both branches remained in the region for a while but there was some scandal to do with Francesca and her brother which I am sure was fabricated by her own father to get him off the hook for indecently assaulting her at the time. This caused an uproar at the time and Benedetto ended up on the Bench blaming her and not himself!! The truth will never be known but he got acquitted.   It was in fact not uncommon for very close relatives to marry in Italy at that time.

The Arpino  family had  already established themselves in Edinburgh and they ran a shop at 85 Grassmarket where they traded as ice cream manufacturers and confectioners.  Some of the family had arrived at first in London and made their way up to Manchester where the Italian community there was well established in the 1860s. Others through Bradford

Of course Edinburgh’s Grassmarket in those days was home to many immigrants but especially Irish and Italians.   You only have to cast your eyes over the 1891 cencus to see how many were crammed into these old tenements.   The street itself was used as a marketplace and had been throughout the centuries.  Horses would have drawn the carts full of the goods to be sold at the markets.  These goods would have been local vegetables mostly with meat stalls and fish from the Forth Estuary


The venue was the Church of the Sacred Heart in Lauriston Street, just off the West Port, in Edinburgh. Leonardo Quilietti surprisingly described as an Ice Cream Vendor as was old Benedetto. This begs the question as to whether Leonardo was in Edinburgh for a while working with his two sons Emilio and Augusto. He did return home however as is documented in the annual census entries in Castelvecchio

Augusto and Francesca had two daughters, Angelina born on April 6th 1894, and on 4th August 1898, Ermennia, [known as Amelia] born on 4th August 1898. Unfortunately Amelia was to pass away at the tender age of only 1 .   She died at 45 The Canongate, Edinburgh.

1901 shows us the family residing at 1 Ramsay’s Close, the Canongate, Edinburgh. Augusto already a confectionery shop keeper on his own accord.

Some photos of Francesca’s Arpino family

This is Francesca’s sister Maria Giuseppa Arpino 1867 – 1960. She married Giulio Ceci [later change of name to John Joseph Church. The family stayed in Bradford where they enjoyed this lovely family. His family were also from the Casino area in Italy.

Sister Michaelangela Arpino married Benedetto Fusco whose family were from Villa Latina. They had a large family who settled and indeed remained in the Edinburgh area. Their daughter Mary married Joseph Gargaro.

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