The Scottish connection revisited

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An interesting blog appeared on the net this week from Craig Murray in Scotland . Craig Murray is a Scottish dissident, human rights activist, writer, and former British Ambassador. He is also the currently Rector of the University of Dundee and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Lancaster School of Law.
On his blog he published the above image and the following text: The lady on the right in the less elaborate hat is my grandmother, Valentina Coletti. The gentleman next to her is her brother Leonardo Coletti. They look pretty exotic for Edinburgh, as they were immigrants from Castelvecchio Pascoli in Italy.

I am Rector of Dundee University. At a recent meeting of Rectors I was speaking with Kevin Dunnion, the Rector of neighbouring St Andrews University. We were astonished to discover that his grandparents also came from Castelvecchio Pascoli.

Perhaps it explains our amazement if I tell you that Castelvecchio has a population of 509. For this tiny Tuscan hilltop village to produce Rectors of two of Scotland’s finest universities – at the same time – is pretty mind-boggling.

Castelvecchio is in the municipal district of Barga. There was a mass exodus from Barga to the central belt of Scotland around the start of the twentieth century. A recent study of Scots Italians was entitled Barga No More. I recall some years back an exhibition in Chambers Street Museum which suggested that some 20% of modern Scots are at least a quarter Italian – article here


And whilst on the subject of Scotland and Barga:

From Barga, The Most Scottish Town in Italy, the congratulation for a prestigious win in Scottish League Cup final.

Anche da Barga, The Most Scottish Town in Italy, vi giungano le congratulazioni per la prestigiosa vittoria della Coppa di Scozia.
La vittoria è stata meritata. E’ stato un tripudio di colori bianco verdi che speriamo di rivedere per festeggiare la conquista del Campionato

Ad Majora

Umberto Sereni – Mayor of Barga

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Hi Craig, great to see our family portrait here in Barga News. We share the same roots but not Coletti, the name is actually Quilietti. The photograph has three Quilietti siblings, Valentina, Leonardo and Giulio. The other lady at the far side is Louisa Brattisani who was their aunt . The young lady at the front is Leonardo’s first wife Susan Tully. The Quilietti family do come from Castelvecchio Pascoli, their father Emilio having arrived in Scotland circa 1888.