Bella Means More Than Pretty Descended from Latin, Italian is the Romance language spoken in Italy. The Italian word, nome is “name” in English. Nomes may consist of several names including a surname (family name) and 1 or more first (given) names. Most traditional Italian names are taken from the namesakes from popular saints. The church of England's strong etymological influence upon Italian babies in the 17th century is evident in the large majority associated with European names. Even stronger geneological ties are demonstrated in the Italian naming custom which traditionally named 1st born children after the father's parents, and the 2nd born children after the mother's parents. Some Italian names used by those of Italian descent which retain ancestoral designations are Antonio, Giovanni, Giuseppe, Mario, Luigi, and Francesco for boys, and Anna, Maria, Angela, Rosa, Giovanna, and Giuseppina for girls. Unisex Names However, unisex names are a rarity in Italian. Two atypical exceptions for unisex Italian names are Andrea and Celeste. Another, is the feminine name Maria which is commonly used as a middle name in the masculine, like Anton Maria, Gianmaria, and Carlo Maria. Given Names As stated, Italian first names are usually gender designated. Suffixes or endings to the given name are indicative for either male or female. Boys Boy baby names for many Italians, contain the ending -o and some, end in -e. (Carmine, Dante, Davide, Gabriele, Michele, Simone, Salvatore, Gentile). Typically, Italian given names taken from foreign origins will end in a consonant, like Ivan, Oscar, and Walter. Girls Girl baby names commonly end in -a, but some also use the -e , and -i endings, as well. (Adele, Alice, Irene, Rachele, Noemi). Consonant endings are also seen in feminine forms, such as Ester and Nives. Nearly every source name has a diminutive form which is another suffix added to change a masculine base name into a feminine. Many examples exist in Italian names, like Donato => Donatello or Donatella. Some first names may include prefixes, such as Pier- (derived from Pietro) or Gian- (derived from Giovanni). Surnames Italian surnames (over 350,000) are collectively the most of all surname origins in the world (cognomi). Partonymic last names, arising from the father, are typical for Italians, as they are with most European surnames. Possessive indications, like de (son of), were originally used, but over the years, it was dropped and endings were added. De Luca is one of the few, commonly used Italian surnames today, which remains true to tradition. For instance: de Bernardo => Bernardo => Bernardi (pluralized form) Location for residence, family origin, and landmarks near dwellings were also typical surname sources. Fontana “fountain”, D'Arco “of the arch”, Montagna “mountain”, da Vinci “from Vinci”, Romano “Roman”, and La Porta “the gate” are examples. The common -i ending for many Italian last names was mainly due to the family reference in the plural after the Middle Ages. Like in the case, degli Ormanno became de'Ormanni (“the Ormannos”). The suffix was also used in endearment identification, as well, such as in Bambi (Italian pet name derived from bambino “child or baby”) The top 5 modern Italian surnames are Rossi, Russo, Ferrari, Espostio, and Bianchi. Italian Nicknames Some sources for nicknames are typical like mannerisms or family names, but can also derive from physical attributes often humorous, such as Caporaso (shaved head). Still other Italians are nicknamed from objects, called metronyms, assoicated with their professions, like Forni (ovens) or Marin (sea) for a cook or fisherman, respectively. Combinations from Greek or Latin origin words with Italian names often result in interesting mixes which produce a new multi-origination name. For example : pappas-Grk (priest) & aleardos-Itl (noble) Pappalardo (Eater of Lard = lard eater) Italian Suffixes origin/form/”meaning” examples of names -i pluralized form Medici, Ormanni -ello/etto diminutive “little” Bernardello -illo/ino diminutive “little” Bernardino -one augmentative “big” Mangione accio/asso/azzo pejorative Boccaccio -de contracted form; degil/possessive “of the” or “son of” De Luca       Locational Suffixes Regional Derivation surnames common to region -aro, -issi, osso fr Sicily region Badlissi, Cavallaro, Rosso -ace fr Calabria region Storace -iello fr Campania region Borriello -as, -is, -u fr Sardinia region Argiolas, Abis, Pusceddu -aci/ucci/ecci fr Tuscany region Balducci -ai Bollai -ati/atti/ate fr Lomabardy region Bonati,Orsatti, Moratti -ago/ghi Salmoiraghi -engo/enghi   Vernengo -audi, -ero fr Piedmont region Rambaudi,Ferrero -asco,-zzi   Bonazzi,Comaco -ato/-a fr Veneto region Cavinato, Zoccarato -asso Bissacco -otti/utti fr Friuli region Pascutti, Bortolotti -t   Rigonat Italy's Most Popular Baby Names According to Italy's (ISTAT), National Institute of Statistics the most common Italian Baby Names in 2010 were, according to percentage: Girls: Sofia, Emma, Sara*, Martina, Chiara, Giulia, Giorgia, Alice, Aurora, and Alessia Boys: Francesco, Alessandro, Andrea, Lorenzo, Matteo*, Mattia, Gabriele*, Riccardo, Davide*, and Leonardo The names Emma and Sofia have also been in the top English Baby Names and Irish Baby Names for the past decade. * These Italian names could also be shown to derive from Hebrew and Latin origins found as names in the Bible. The following are examples from the ISTAT list which correlate with Bible Names. Sara – Abraham's wife,at 100+ yrs bore Isaac, who the Lord made the coveant for Israel. Matthew – name of an apostle of Jesus. Gabriel – English usage; Latin derived from biblical history, God's messenger angel. David – the boy who slew Goliath, became Israel's last King, & through who's lineage the Messiah came. Several Americanized or English usage names can be commonly associated, such as Sophia, Sarah, Georgia, Ciara, Alyssia, Andre, Matt, David, Gabby, Ricky, Leon, and Leonard. Serena & Venus Williams, the tennis legends, both have given names derived from Italian origins. Other Italian names which have had American popularity are listed below. Girl Names Vanessa Teresa Pia Tina Zoe Maria Michele (Itl Male name) Gia Isabella (Bella) Boy Names Dario Diego Walter Dante Sergio Stefano Rocco Angelo Matteo