The Quilietti Family

The story of a Scots Italian family

RIZZA connections

If we look at Sante Brattesani and Louigi Peruzzi’s Scottish marriage [they were also married in Italy] we find two witnesses to this betrothal.   The first mentioned was Angelo Cardinal and the second Michelangelo Rizza, their occupations were Ice Cream Dealers.    The marriage took place on 4th January 1907 at 53 George IV Bridge in Edinburgh

The marriage between our Sante Brattesani and Louigi Peruzzi

We know that Sante Brattesani had inherited Emilio Quilietti’s Ice Cream businesses when he married his first-cousin Valentina Brattesani Quilietti in 1901.   After her death in 1905 Sante returned to Italy where he married Louigia Peruzzi and brought her back to Scotland.    Emilio Quilietti in his short life had eight ice cream businesses in Edinburgh in which small shops he had a booming business with the Scots and their love of all things sweet.   Some of these shops would also have been wee fish and chip shops and the combination was to last for the next century.

The Italians were a close knit community and the Italians would have met at their Churches.   The three main Italian and Catholic churches in the areas were St. Mary’s R.C. in Broughton Street.   This would have been the meeting place for the Leith and Greensiders.     Then we had The Church of the Sacred Heart in Lauriston Place.   A church that you can easily miss when passing by.   But a beautiful interior hides behind the simple doors.     Here the residents of the Grassmarket, the West Bow and the surrouning streets would have met and had a strong sense of belonging in a strange land.    The third was St. Pat’s in the Cowgate but to be sure the Irish made this their own and most of her parishioners were from the green Isle.

The Pacelli  family were part of the Italian comunity in the Grassmarket in the 1890’s.  They worshiped in the Church of the Sacred Heart and they lived at various flats around the old town at this time.

Giovanbatiste or Giovanni Rizza had moved from the area surrounding Monte Cassino in the late 1880s and early  1890s as so many others did at this time.  His wife was Caterina Soave.

The family arrived to Scotland and by the year  1891 two of Giovanni’s sons had a confectioners shop in Glasgow at 134 Cambridge Street.   Michelangelo, born in the year  1870 was described as the head of the family and his elder brother Angelo who was born in 1865 was the salesman.   Michelangelo moved to Berwick on Tweed where he opened another business.

Travelling between these two main Scottish Cities and the small borders town of Berwick on Tweed and somewhere in between Michelangelo met  Maria Antonia Pacelli   Her family were living at 90 Grassmarket in Edinburgh.  They married in the church of the Sacred Heart, Lauriston Street, Edinburgh in 1893.   Her father was Vincenzo Pacelli and her mother Maria Rosa Savino.

However Michelangelo kept his Edinburgh connections and was a frequent traveller between the borders and the city of Edinburgh.  In 1907 he was a witness at the wedding of Sante Brattesani and his new wife Louigia Peruzzi.

The marriage between Maria Antonia Pacelli and Michelangelo Rizza







The marriage was fruitful and the couple settled in Berwick-on-Tweed in the Scottish/English borders.   There were eventually  two confectionery businesses both registered in the name of Maria AntoniaRizza and not her husband.

There was at this time a regular Ferry service between Edinburgh and Berwick upon Tweed, and it is a fair distance and it has been suggested that this was the preferred route for the family to travel between the two cities.

Many of their children were baptised in the Church of the Sacred Heart in Edinburgh.   This has been documented by one of their descendants Louisa who has visited her ancestors roots in Edinburgh this year 2012.   I will put in a link to her webpage

The church of the Sacred Heart in Lauriston in Edinburgh shows their marriage

The church of the Sacred Heart




Maria Rosa Rizza was  born in the year 1907 moved to Canada and it is her descendants who visited Edinburgh this year in search of their family roots

Maria Rosa Rizza photograph taken in Canada

The Pacelli family were documented as living in Edinburgh in No. 79 The Grassmarket in the 1891 census of Scotland.

In this census her father Vincenzo is described as a musician.   Many of the Italian immigrants would make a living from this.   They were farmers from the hills of Italy.   Their new trades would be, musicians, stucco figure makers and then confectioners and barbers.    This is the professions that they found worked best and how they would make their mark in their new world.   Edinburgh had mass immigration at this time from both the Irish, the Italians and the Scots themselves with the influx from the North with the Highland Clearances.   Paid work would be scarce and the clever ones found new trades and soon profited from them.

Maria had two elder brothers Francesco born in the year 1869 and Joseph who was born in 1873.   These brothers moved to the Emerland Isle and made their way to Dublin.

There are today descendants of this family in Dublin.   Francesco married an Irish girl Mary Doyle who was born in 1871.   They had  four children

Dublin Pacelli family

Back in Scotland in the turn of the century 1900 we have a certain Italian romeo called Michaelangelo Rizza.   To understand Italians and their romances we have to look no further than our own Quilietti family.   With no names mentioned we find many of the boys, even today, who stray far from home to catch the eye of a beautiful lady.

The lady pictured below was a daughter born between Michaelangelo and a secret lady.   Does she  look so much like her half-sister above.

Secret daughter













11 Responses to “RIZZA connections”

  1. david whelan and theresa pacelli says:

    hi i would like to know where you researched info on dublin Pacelli’s . I cant find marriage for Francis Pacelli to Mary Doyle or the birth of their daughter Mary Rose.I am married to a granddaughter of Francis Pacelli..They had about nine children up to 1914.

  2. Mike Griffiths says:

    Hi Helen

    Amazing, isn’t it, what a stray contact can do. I haven’t been in contact with you for a while but, in the meantime, you’ve put up my grandmother’s picture and, I believe, contacted or been in contact with a certain Californian lady (who, I think, I can now call my cousin). All in all, it’s been a wonderfully successful venture into ancestry.

    It’s been exhausting, although I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. And, just in case anyone happens to know who and what I’m talking about, my grandmother’s favourite song (which she performed herself around Berwick) was O Mio Babbino Caro. What a coincidence!

    I’m sure I’ll be back, although the confirmation I already have is somewhat overwhelming. In the meantime, best of luck to all similar searchers. Don’t give up!


  3. Helen says:

    I think the whole website has been such a success because of people like yourselves who wish to share your memories of family history. We wish, only to honour our ancestors and in the process also to gain a wee bit more knowledge about our family roots. Thanks for your comment, Helen

  4. Ian says:


    I have recently found out Florrie Pacelli who was born in Dublin in 1902 daughter of Francis Pacelli is my fathers Grandmother, i would be realy interested in finding out more information about the family history.


  5. cathrina Van Vuuren says:

    Do you have any information on the Savino family in Dublin . They owned Ice-cream palours. My grandfather was Joseph Savino born around 1906. He had brothers Vincent, Michael and I forget the other brother’s name. He married Kathleen page.

  6. Helen says:

    Helle Cathrina. I do not have information myself on this particular family but lots of people read this site and let’s see if you get any replies Helen

  7. Alan Reid says:

    Re; cathrina Van Vuuren – post August 16 2014

    Catherine (Kathleen) Page was born in Dublin 1905 to Robert Page and Catherine Scully. Robert’s sister Elizabeth married my grand uncle Christopher Rogers in 1911. Christopher was killed in 1915 in WW1. Your Page line can be traced back to your g.g.g.grandparents Robert Page and Elizabeth Dunne.

  8. bernard roberts says:

    my great grandfather was Giovanni Batista Rizza and my Grandfather Bernard Rizza. I cannot find anything from searching th records to prove that Giovanni and his wife actually came to Scotland and no trace of Michealangelos and bernardos brother Angelo.Can you confirm where you go this info from. regards bernardBernard

  9. lynda pacelli says:

    Hi all, I am the great granddaughter of Francesco and Mary (Polly) Pacelli, nee Doyle. My Granny was Catherine Pacelli born 1903. I believe Kathleen Page who married Joseph Sevino was Polly’s cousin.
    I have the names of 8 of Francis and Polly’s children, so it would seem I am one short if the number of children was actually 9.

  10. Seán Heather says:

    Hello folks, I am the great-grandson of Dublin couple Theresa Pacelli and Patrick Heather.

    My Theresa died aged 96 in the 1980s. Her father came from Italy via Scotland and they had an ice cream parlour and a chip shop in Dublin.

    The story handed down is that Theresa’s father Joseph introduced raspberry ripple ice cream to Dublin and that his nickname was Raspberry Joe

    Any information would be greatly appreciated.

    Seán Heather

Leave a Reply