La Scozia was an Italian language newspaper for Scottish Italian immigrants. It was weekly and ran for about 48 issues or so in 1908 (some weeks were skipped, some weeks had a double-issue covering 2 weeks). It described itself as “A weekly organ for the interests of the Italian colony”. More information about it can be found here in Giancarlo Rinaldi’s excellent overview at BBC Scotland. Thanks to Giancarlo’s prodding I dug out some old clippings of my own of La Scozia from a trip to the British Library I made quite some time ago when I was doing some family research.


Issue 1

Front page of issue No 1 from 17th Jan 1908:

Issue 1 of La Scozia Jan 17th 1908

Issue 1 of La Scozia Jan 17th 1908


This letter from a female correspondent (printed in issue 2 or 3 I think) is one of the rare occasions in which the English language was used in La Scozia. It’s a hint of the slight wariness that existed between the Scottish and Italians in the early days:

Letter from a Scotswoman

Letter from a Scotswoman


Learning English

La Scozia ran an occasional English tuition column. This one shows how food is always front and centre of the Italian psyche:

An English lesson in La Scozia

An English lesson in La Scozia


This advert shows an example of some of the great typefaces of yore. Anyone considering opening a new gelateria should take a look at this incredible lettering:

An advert for Leopoldo Giuliani

An advert for Leopoldo Giuliani


Giosuè Carducci was an Italian poet an nobel-prize winner. Issue no 7 of La Scozia paid tribute to him after he died (quite some time before according to Wikipedia — early 1907). La Scozia commissioned a rather florid essay by a Francis Graham (who is this scholar, does anyone know?) who described Carducci as a “champion of freedom”. The fact that this essay was printed in full and in English indicates the editor really wanted as many people as possible to know about the great man:

Tribute to the poet Carducci

Tribute to the poet Carducci



































The Mafia

This article warns Italians away from members of the “Mano Nera” (Black Hand). This was a crude precursor to the Mafia and seems to have been more prevalent in the US than in the UK. Basically they came up to you and asked for money, if you refused they would burn down your business or beat you up. This brief summary article talks of how the Black Hand “does dishonour to Italy” and recounts the rather entertaining tale of a Black Hand member who tried to plant a bomb in Pittsurgh but was apprehended by a dog.

Stay away from the Mano Nera

Stay away from the Mano Nera





This second article from another edition is not so funny. It describes a brutal murder in New York where someone’s tongue was cut out. The author seems sure the murderer was “Marchionno from Palermo” and goes on to speculate that this same man was involved in the notorious but forgotten “Notarbartolo” case — the 1894 Mafia slaying of Emanuele Notarbartolo, the president of the Bank of Sicily.


Keep your mouth shut











In Giro . . .  In and around Scotland

This is an example of the ‘In Giro…’ column described by Giancarlo Rinaldi at the link at the top. It mentions the special ice-creams in Motherwell of a Mr Verecchia and a C. Coletti. This was Cesidio, the brother of my great-grandfather (also a confectioner):













This lengthy column head outlines “All aspects of the problem of emigration” from the point of view of the newly-arrived immigrant to Scotland. It seems some “Central Committee” had come up with a report on the topic (unsure what this body actually was) and wanted to “regulate, restrain and direct the immigrant flow”. The column goes on to mention “the very sensitive effects” immigration can have on “the demographic structure of the Kingdom.” La Scozia — primarily through its editor Filipo Cafaro — was always keen to urge integration.

It seems the great and the good of the Italians at the time were involved in putting this report together including a Mr Forte — possibly Charles, later Baron Forte. The article goes on to estimate the total number of Italians in Scotland at that time as being 8,000 and that their professions could be split into 4: confectioners/gelatieri, restauranteurs, barbers and mosaic workers. It also mentions that “emigration to Scotland is not advisable” as there is no guarantee of work. Also of interest is the call for the local consulate and officials to exert on new immigrants “a certain moral and material protection”. 






































An expensive snifter

This brief report describes how a Mr Marsella was fined for drinking whisky after midnight. Harsh.

Nip after midnight

Nip after midnight










3 Comments so far

  1. Michael Donnelly on June 23, 2018 3:42 pm

    Hi – until yesterday I had no idea this paper existed. I was at a meeting in
    The Mitchell library and an academic from Edinburgh University mentioned it in passing. We were discussing Italian influence in Scotland. After the meeting I took the lift to the Special Reference Collection and inspected the bound editions. I can’t read Italian but was fascinated with the adverts and the Italian family names. My late mother was a Cavani and I’m looking to get Italian citizenship through my Nonni.

    I was wondering where you had access to the editions and if you knew anything about the Riscossa Latina magazine ?

    Grazie mille


  2. pcoletti on June 24, 2018 4:24 pm

    I hadn’t heard about Riscossa until I read Giancarlo’s article (linked above), and I’ve never seen a facsimile or original of it — would love to though.

    Nice to hear the Mitchell Lib has the Scozia in the archives — does it have all editions? The British library, where I went, had most but a couple were missing. I might go back and see what they’ve got in terms of Riscossa.

    Good luck with the citizneship!


  3. Michael Donnelly on July 28, 2018 6:08 am

    Thanks for that. Didn’t have time to check for completeness but will if I visit again.



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