Italian naming traditions & popular names

Written by    Last updated: March 27, 2007

Looking for baby naming inspiration? Many English names have their origin in Latin, which continues to be a popular source of names for Italians…

Traditionally, children are named after their grandparents, choosing from the paternal side for the first and then, from the mother’s side of the family. The naming custom is as follows:

Position Gender Named after
Firstborn Boy paternal grandfather
Firstborn Girl paternal grandmother
Second Boy maternal grandfather
Second Girl maternal grandmother

 

Any subsequent children are named either after their parents, aunts, uncles, a relative or a saint. In case the birth occurs on the day of a major holy festival or on the day of an important saint, then the child will get the name of the saint or the occasion. Often parents will name their children after the patron saint of the village or a saint that they have a special connection with.

Most of the names that go back several generations have their origins in the holy calendar of the Roman Catholic Church.  Certain names reflect the region where they came from. For instance, Romulus is a typical name for the Rome area. Each Italian name that originates from holy figures has one day in the year as its ‘name day’. This is an occasion that is celebrated as a kind of second birthday with the person receiving a cake, wine and gifts.  Any saints and their names that don’t feature in the Calendar, have their celebration on the 1st of November; All Saints’ Day.

Current trends in Italian names reflect popular culture and naming after major football stars and entertainment personalities is becoming an increasingly common practice.

Popular Italian names for boys and girls

Italian Girl names Italian Boy names
Alberta Adelfo
Alessia Alberto
Amelia Aleandro
Angela Aleardo
Angelica Alessandro
Annabella Alfredo
Antonella Angelo
Aurelia Antonio
Aurora Armando
Azzurra Augusto
Beata Bellino
Belinda Benedetto
Benedetta Benito
Camelia Bonifacio
Carolina Boris
Caterina Bruno
Cesarina Bruto
Chiara Calimero
Clementina Camillio
Concordia Carlo
Corinna Casimiro
Cristiana Celio
Cristina Cesare
Dalila Christian
Damiana Claudio
Delfina Colombano
Demetria Cristiano
Dina Damiano
Domenica Dario
Donatella Davide
Dora Delfino
Dorotea Demetrio
Elena Diego
Eleonora Dimitri
Eliana Dino
Elisa Domenico
Elisabetta Donnino
Ella Edgardo
Elvira Eduardo
Emanuela Eliano
Enrica Emilio
Fabiana Enzo
Frederica Ermanno
Florenza Ettore
Francesca Eugenio
Frida Fabiano
Gabriella Federico
Gemma Ferdinando
Geraldina Francesco
Gianna Franco
Gina Gandalfo
Giorgia Gaspare
Gisella Geraldo
Ileana Giancarlo
imelda Gianno
Ines Giovanni
Isabella Giuseppe
Isidora Gustave
Ivana Ignazio
Lara Ivano
Lidia Lazzaro
Liliana Leonardo
Lucia Lorenzo
Lucilla Luca
Luisa Luciano
Manuela Luigi
Maria Marcello
Marianna Marco
Marissa Marino
Marta Matteo
Mirella Micheangelo
Miriam Nicodermo
Morgana Nino
Natalina Norberto
Nicoletta Oberto
Odetta Orlando
Ottavia Oscar
Palmira Ottavio
Paola Palmiro
Priscilla Paolo
Quintina Pasquale
Renata Patrizio
Roberta Piero
Rosalia Raffaelo
Rosanna Ramiro
Rosaria Raul
Sabina Renato
Serena Rinaldo
Simonetta Romano
Sofia Romeo
Stella Sebastiano
Susanna Sergio
Tamara Silvano
Teresa Stefano
Tullia Terenzio
Valentina Tommasco
Valeria Uberto
Verdiana Valentino
Vittoria Vincenzio
Viviana Vittore

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