Italian naming traditions & popular names

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:

PositionGenderNamed after
FirstbornBoypaternal grandfather
FirstbornGirlpaternal grandmother
SecondBoymaternal grandfather
SecondGirlmaternal 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 namesItalian Boy names
AlbertaAdelfo
AlessiaAlberto
AmeliaAleandro
AngelaAleardo
AngelicaAlessandro
AnnabellaAlfredo
AntonellaAngelo
AureliaAntonio
AuroraArmando
AzzurraAugusto
BeataBellino
BelindaBenedetto
BenedettaBenito
CameliaBonifacio
CarolinaBoris
CaterinaBruno
CesarinaBruto
ChiaraCalimero
ClementinaCamillio
ConcordiaCarlo
CorinnaCasimiro
CristianaCelio
CristinaCesare
DalilaChristian
DamianaClaudio
DelfinaColombano
DemetriaCristiano
DinaDamiano
DomenicaDario
DonatellaDavide
DoraDelfino
DoroteaDemetrio
ElenaDiego
EleonoraDimitri
ElianaDino
ElisaDomenico
ElisabettaDonnino
EllaEdgardo
ElviraEduardo
EmanuelaEliano
EnricaEmilio
FabianaEnzo
FredericaErmanno
FlorenzaEttore
FrancescaEugenio
FridaFabiano
GabriellaFederico
GemmaFerdinando
GeraldinaFrancesco
GiannaFranco
GinaGandalfo
GiorgiaGaspare
GisellaGeraldo
IleanaGiancarlo
imeldaGianno
InesGiovanni
IsabellaGiuseppe
IsidoraGustave
IvanaIgnazio
LaraIvano
LidiaLazzaro
LilianaLeonardo
LuciaLorenzo
LucillaLuca
LuisaLuciano
ManuelaLuigi
MariaMarcello
MariannaMarco
MarissaMarino
MartaMatteo
MirellaMicheangelo
MiriamNicodermo
MorganaNino
NatalinaNorberto
NicolettaOberto
OdettaOrlando
OttaviaOscar
PalmiraOttavio
PaolaPalmiro
PriscillaPaolo
QuintinaPasquale
RenataPatrizio
RobertaPiero
RosaliaRaffaelo
RosannaRamiro
RosariaRaul
SabinaRenato
SerenaRinaldo
SimonettaRomano
SofiaRomeo
StellaSebastiano
SusannaSergio
TamaraSilvano
TeresaStefano
TulliaTerenzio
ValentinaTommasco
ValeriaUberto
VerdianaValentino
VittoriaVincenzio
VivianaVittore

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