Luigi Giovan Maria ROCCA Eulalie Catherine ROCCA Mini tree diagram

Françoise Marie Celestine COLOMBERO

23rd Nov 1873 - 24th Jul 1963

Life History

23rd Nov 1873

Born in Monte Carlo

19th Apr 1903

Married Luigi Giovan Maria ROCCA in Peterborough?

5th Apr 1904

Birth of daughter Eulalie Catherine ROCCA in Peterborough, Northants

10th Feb 1938

Death of Luigi Giovan Maria ROCCA in Leek, Staffordshire, England.

24th Jul 1963



  • Celestine Colombero was born in Monaco where her parents had gone, seeking work in the expanding tourist trade. Her Godfather was François Gastaldo and her Godmother was Caterina Marie Bassi, sister of Celestine's mother. Her early life was very sad as her mother died when she was only 9 years old. At this time, she was at a convent near Monaco, run by the Dominican sisters. We do not know what happened to her father and brother Eugène, but her aunt and Godmother Caterina Menghini-Bassi, who had lived with them in Monaco for 15 years, took Celestine back to Poschiavo where she became part of the Menghini family. There she was known by the Italian version of her name - Celesta and was particularly close throughout her life, to her cousin Ida Menghini.

    Anna Maria Gaigher, the wife of our Great Great Grandfather Giuseppe Marchesi, was the Aunt of Celesta's mother.  This is another thread in the network of family relationships in and around Poschiavo.

    Celesta was a lively young girl, sometimes needing to be disciplined and she remembered being shut in the cellar, to enable some calm reflection - a common punishment of those days! She became part of a very happy family and she liked to recall this period, rather than her earlier memories. She did however, speak of a great party given to celebrate the birthday of the Prince of Monaco, probably Albert 1.

    In due course she had to earn a living and for a short period, she worked as a children's nanny for a contessa in Paris. However, she found this rather lonely. She returned to Poschiavo and from there, came to England to work for Federico Marchesi in Broadstairs. There she met Louis Rocca and together they came to Northampton to work for Federico's son Giuseppe. Louis established his own Swiss Café / Restaurant at nearby Peterborough and he and Celesta  were married in All Souls Church, Peterborough, by Canon Dudley Carey-Elwes.

    Our Granny was a lively and strong character. We loved her musical accent and the mistakes she made when she spoke English, which she never really mastered. She would study a newspaper carefully, sometimes reading it aloud. However, we all understood her well and she had many memorable little phrases. Leaving a door open could provoke "ave you been to Paris?" She dressed most elegantly in silk coats and dresses which complemented each other in pattern and colour. She was tremendous fun but not always discreet. We loved her company when she came to stay with us in Orpington, and our friends came to know her well. She occasionally sent them on an errand before allowing us to go out with them! She attended whist-drives and would say to her fellow players;- "I tink you 'ave di Queen of 'arts!"

    Celesta was a widow for many years but she stayed with her daughters regularly and is buried in Tonbridge, Kent, with her much-loved husband Louis.

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