Everything you want to know about Italian Given Names -
by Steve Russo

from the
COMUNES_OF_ITALY archives -- June 2000, week 4 (#225)

edited by Mimi Torchia Boothby

Italian Names
This is a great Italian website. You put in an Italian given or "christian" name and it will show the actual frequency of that name in the different provences of Italy.

Italy (Italia)

Capital : Rome (Roma)

Campania, Liguria, Valle Daosta, Trentino-Alto Adige, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Lombardia (Lombardy), Piemonte (Piedmont), Emilia-Romagna, Guria, Toscana, San Marino, Marche, Umbria, Lazio (Latium), Abruzzi, Molise, Puglia (Apulia), Basilicata, Calabria, Sicilia, Corsica, Sardegna (Sardinia)


A Little History

The Greeks had founded a colony at Cumae in the C8th BC which established another at nearby Neapolis (New City, which is now Naples) but during the Macedonian domination of the Greek world under Alexander the Great, the Romans began to emerge as one of the stronger peoples of Italy. Their second war with Macedonia (200-197 BC) led to a recognition of the rise of Rome throughout the Mediterranean. Philip V of Macedon made an alliance with Hannibal in 205 which produced Roman intervention in Greece and a treaty of co-existence, the Peace of Phoenice and after Greek defeat by Flaminius in 197 BC, Rome was the main power in the Aegean.

The Roman Empire finally gave way to Germanic invasion with the Ostrogoths in control by AD 493 and the Lombards establishing their kingdom in the north. This became part of the Frankish Empire in 744. During the C9th and 10th, Italy was invaded by Magyars from the north and Saracens from the south. The Ottonian Empire of the Frankish Otto I led to a strong culture of urban wealth in Lombardy and Tuscany. The Christianisation of the Roman Empire had made Rome the world centre of the Catholic religion and the Papal Patrimony was increasing in size and power. Pope Gregory VII excommunicated the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV in 1076 and made alliances with his enemies, the Normans of southern Italy and the German nobility, but the papacy could not prevent the conquest of the Norman kingdom of Sicily at the end of the C12th which made the Hohenstaufen family the richest rulers in Europe. The struggle to remove the Germans from Italy led to Pope Clement IV asking Charles of Anjou, brother of Louis IX of France, for help. His victories at Benevento (1266) and Tagliacozzo (1268) removed the Germans but the papacy was in open conflict with the French monarchy over sovereignty and taxation of clergy by 1296. Pope Boniface VIII was kidnapped by French and Italian enemies and in 1309 his successor was based in Avignon under French supervision.

The economic and political problems of C15th Europe left Italy fragmented. The Habsburgs gained control of Naples, then comprising over half the country, in 1504 and of Milan in the north in 1535 as well as the islands of Sardinia and Sicily which they had ruled since the late C13th. The Republics of Venice, Florence, Siena and Genoa in the north were independent and the Papal states separated them from the Habsburg lands.

Italy had lost its primacy in Europe mostly as a result of the creation of the Habsburg Empire under Charles V in 1519. The Ottoman Turks, despite defeat by a Spanish, Venetian and Papal fleet at Lepanto in 1571 continued their expansion in the Mediterraean. By the C18th, the Austrian Habsburgs ruled Milan, the Spanish Bourbons, Naples and Sicily, Savoy had neutralised Sardinia and Tuscany had fallen to a junior branch of the Habsburg family. Genoa still owned Corsica and the Republics of Venice and Lucca also retained their independence. This was ended by Napoleonic France's conquest of Italy when several new states were established. Napoleon was ruler of the Kingdom of Italy in the north and his brother Joseph was King of Naples.

After Napoleon's defeat, there were several unsuccessful nationalist revolts in Italy but the sudden expansion of the kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia led to the creation of a United Italy by 1861. Although it lost Nice and Savoy to France in 1860, it acquired Venetia in 1866 and in 1870 annexed the remaining part of the Papal States containing Rome which was to become the capital. Italy acquired some territories in Africa (Eritrea, Italian Somaliland, Libya) but was never a major colonial power. She entered WWI on the Allied side in May 1915 but was overshadowed by the greater powers afterwards despite the rise of Fascism. In 1936, Italy joined Germany and Japan in the Anti-Comintern Pact against the Soviet Union and although she conquered Eithiopia in 1935-6 was part of Hitler's new German Reich by WWII. After the war, the Italian economy improved greatly as a result of being a founder member of the EEC in 1957. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Italian Names

Most Italian first names are derived from those of Roman Catholic saints or modern forms of Roman ones. In medieval times, there was a wider range including Germanic names that originated with the Lombards but these are now very rare except as surnames. Regional influences, such as the name of the local patron saint, are also present. The substitution of 'z' or 'x' for 'g' is common in Venice and Emilia-Romagna (Zanfrancesco, Zohane,* *Zohanbaptista)

Italian Naming Tradition It is amazing how our Italian ancestors stuck to these rules: The first born son bore the name of its paternal grandfather, the second that of its maternal grandfather, the third that of its father, the fourth the name of its paternal great grandfather. Remaining children took the names of the paternal and maternal grand uncles in alternation. If the oldest child had received a votive name in place of that of its paternal grandfather, the second child took the name of its father instead of that of its maternal grandfather. If the father died before the birth of his child it was customary for it to assume the deceased parent's name ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Male Given Names

The common -us Latin ending is generally replaced by -o. Diminutive forms include -ino, -etto, -ello, iano.

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Common Male Names

These are commonly used names in modern Italy. Names marked * are more common in, or exclusive to, the south of Italy. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

  • Alessandro Alessio Andrea Antonio Attilio Augusto Aurelio
  • Bartolomeo Basilio Battista Benedetto Beniamino Benito Benvenuto Beppe Bernardino Bernardo Bertoldo Bertrando Bettino Biagio Bonifazio Brando Bruno
  • Calogero Calvino Camillo Carlo Carlomaria Carmelo Carmine Cataldo Cecilio Celestino Cesare Ciriaco Cirillo Ciro Claudio Clemente Corrado Costantino Costanzo Crispino Cristiano Cristoforo
  • Damiano Daniele Danilo Dante Dario Davide Demetrio Diego Dino Dionigi Dionisio Domenico Donatello Donato Doriano Duilio
  • Edgardo Edmondo Edoardo Egidio Eleuterio Elia Eligio Elio Emiliano Emilio Enea Ennio Enrico Enzo Ercole Ermanno Erminio Ernesto Ersilio Ettore Eugenio Eustachio Evaristo Ezechiele Ezio
  • Fabiano Fabio Fabrizio Fausto Fedele Federico Felice Ferdinando Fernando Ferruccio Filiberto Filippo Fiorenzo Firmino Flavio Folco Fortunato Fosco Francesco Franco Fulvio
  • Gabriele Gaetano* Galimberto Gaspare Gastone Gavino Gennarino* Gennaro* Geraldo Gerardo Gerolamo Geronimo Gherardo Giacinto Giacobbe Giacomino Giacomo Giambattista Giampaolo Giampietro Gian-Andrea Gian-Carlo Giandonato Gianfrancesco Gianfranco Gianlorenzo Gianluca Gianluigi Gianmaria Gianni Gianpaolo Gianpiero Gilberto Gino Gioacchino Giobbe Giordano Giorgio Giovanni Giovannino Girolamo Giuliano Giulio Giuseppe Giustiniano Giustino Goffredo Gregorio Gualtiero Guglielmo Guido Gustavo
  • Ignazio Ilario Ippolito Isacco Isidoro Italo Ivano
  • Jacopo
  • Lamberto Lazzaro Leandro Leonardo Leopoldo Lino Lionello Livio Lodovico Lorenzo Luca Luchino Luciano Lucio Ludovico Luigi Luigino
  • Manfredi Manfredino Manlio Manuele Marcantonio Marcello Marco Marino Mario Massimiliano Massimo Matteo Mattia Maurizio Mauro
  • Nando Nanni Natale Nazario Nestore Niccolo Nicodemo Nicolá Nicolo Nino Nunzio
  • Oliviero Omero Onofrio Onorato Orazio Oreste Orfeo Orlando Oscar Osvaldo Ottaviano Ottavio
  • Paolo Pasquale* Pasqualino* Patrizio Pierangelo Pierluigi Piero Pieroantonio Pietro Pino Pippo Primo Quintino Quirino
  • Raffaele Raffaello Raimondo Reginaldo Remo Renato Renzo Riccardo Rinaldo Rino Roberto Rocco Rolando Rosario Rossano Ruggero Ruggieri Ruggiero
  • Salvatore* Salvo Samuele Sandro Santo Saverio Serafino Sergio Sesto Silvano Silvestro Silvio Simeone Simone Sisto Stefano
  • Tiberio Timoteo Tiziano Tommaso Tullio
  • Ubaldo Ugo Ulisse Ulrico Umberto Urbano
  • Valentino Valerio Vanni Vasco Verdiano Vespasiano Vincenzo* Virgilio Vitaliano Vito* Vittore Vittoriano Vittorio
  • Yuri
  • Zaccaria


Rare Male Given Names

These are uncommon, archaic or vary in spelling from the usual forms. Many were taken from Renaissance history or are diminutive forms no longer in regular use. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------


Female Given Names

Most male names have their feminine form, using an 'a' ending instead of the masculine 'o'. Catholic saints' names are popular, often with identifying nicknames to show which saint is referred to (the singer Madonna Ciccone named her daughter Maria Lourdes, signifying a certain aspect of the Virgin Mary). Common endings also include the diminutives -ella, -etta and -ina.

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Common Names

are commonly used names in modern Italy. Names marked * are more common in, or exclusive to, the south of Italy.


  • Ada Adalgisa Addolorata* Adelaide Adelina Adriana Agata Agnese Agostina Alba Albina Alessandra Alessia Alida Alina Allegra Alma Amalia Ambra Amelia Anastasia Andrea Andreina Angela Angelica Angelina Anna Annabella Annarita Annetta Annina Annunciata* Annunziata* Antonella Antonia Antonietta Antonina Arabella Arianna Assunta* Assuntina* Aurelia
  • Barbara Beatrice Benedetta Berenice Bianca Bibiana Bice Brigida Brigitta Bruna
  • Camilla Carla Carlotta Carmela* Carolina Caterina Cecilia Celestina Chiara Clarissa Claudia Clelia Clementina Clio Cloe Concetta* Concettina* Consolata* Cordelia Corinna Cornelia Cosetta Cosima* Costanza Cristiana Cristina
  • Dafne Dalia Dalila Daniela Debora Deborah Delfina Diana Diletta Dina Domenica
    Domitilla Donata Donatella Dora
  • Edvige Elda Elena Eleonora Elettra Eliana Elisa Elisabetta Elsa Elvira Emilia Emma Enrica Erica Erika Ernestina Ester Eugenia Eva Evelina
  • Fabiola Fabrizia Federica Felicita Fiamma Fiammetta Filomena* Fioralba Fioranna Fiorella Fiorenza Flaminia Flora Fortunata Franca Francesca Fulvia
  • Gabriella Gaia Geltrude Gemma Genoveffa Giacinta Giada Gianna Giannina Gilda Gina Ginevra Gioconda Giorgia Giorgiana Giorgina Giovanna Giovannina Gisella Giuditta Giulia Giuliana Giulietta Giuseppa Giuseppina Giustina Grazia Graziella
  • Ilaria Iolanda Irene Isa Isabella
  • Jolanda
  • Lara Laura Lavinia Lea Leda Letizia Lia Libera Lidia Liliana Lisa Livia Loredana Lorella Lorena Lorenza Loretta Loriana Luana Lucia Luciana Lucrezia Ludovica Luisella
  • Maddalena Mafalda Magda Maia Mara Marcella Margherita Maria Mariangela Marianna Marica Mariella Marilena Marina Marisa Marta Martina Matilde Maura Melissa Micaela Michela Milena Mimma Mina Minerva Miranda Mirella Monica Morena
  • Natalia Nerina Nicoletta Nina Noemi Novella Nunzia Nunziatella Nunziatina
  • Ofelia Olimpia Olivia Oriana Ornella Orsola Ortensia Ottavia
  • Pamela Paola Pasqualina Patrizia Penelope Perla Petronilla Pia Piera Pina Prisca Priscilla
  • Rachele Rebecca Regina Renata Rina Rita Roberta Romina Rosa Rosalba Rosalia* Rosalinda Rosanna Rosaria* Rosetta Rosina Rossana Ruth
  • Sabina Sabrina Samanta Samantha Sandra Santa Santina Santuzza Sara Sebastiana Selvaggia Serafina Serena Sibilla Silvana Silvia Simona Simonetta Sofia Sonia Stefania Stella Susanna Sveva
  • Tea Teresa Teresina Tiziana Tommasa Tommasina Tullia
  • Valentina Valeria Vanessa Vanna Vera Veronica Vincenza Vincenzina Viola Violante Violetta Virginia Virna Vittoria Viviana
  • Zaira Zita Zoe

Rare Female Italian Given Names

These are uncommon, archaic or vary in spelling from the usual forms. Many were taken from Renaissance history or are diminutive forms no longer in regular use. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------


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