Common Italian Last Names

Interested in Italian last names? Want to know what some of the most common surnames in Italy are? Our guide gives you information on Last names and their meanings which are often not what you’d expect.

You have probably heard the names of some very famous Italians like Alessandro Botticelli and Leonardo Da Vinci but have you ever wondered what is behind the interesting last names that these artists had? There is something about Italian names that seems to attract public attention. They seem particularly interesting to non Italians much more so than to the locals. Ask any foreigner and he is bound to know some of the most common Italian surnames like Russo, Ferrari, Esposito and Bianchi. But the interesting thing is that not many of us know how and when these last names were developed. Once you find out the origins of the last names you will be able to appreciate them more and in some cases the reaction may be quite the contrary.

Last Names Derived from Town of Origin

Most of the surnames you find have originated from the region where the individual was born or where he lived. In the case of the famous renaissance artist Leonardo Da Vinci his family originated from the town of Vinci in Eatern Tuscany. There are many examples of famous people deriving their surnames from the places where their families have originated from. Andrea Pisano is another sculpture artist from the city of the leaning tower of Pisa. Some names are just singular in which the name of the region is incorporated. Examples of these kinds of names include Perugino which means from Perugia and Lombardi is another name tied to the region.

Funny Common Italian Last Names

There are some common Italian last names that will tickle your funny bone once you find out how they were developed. People were often nicknamed based on some awkward or prominent attribute in their character. The nick name usually became a stamp and carried on for generations. You will find some of the sweetest sounding Italian names to have a meaning that is going to surprise you. The name Botticelli was carried forward from the artist’s brother’s nickname Botticello which actually meant “The little Barrel”. Similarly you have the name Quattrochi meaning four eyes and Giuliano Buhiardini having a hilarious meaning that is “little liars”. How these individuals got these nick names and who was behind them is a study too cumbersome to undertake but for now we can delight over the discovery of the meanings of these commonly heard Italian last names.

In the good old days of Italy many people got their last names from the occupation in which they excelled. The funny thing is that the name was often carried forward regardless of whether the later generations had a totally different occupation. This is why you would find a painter with the last name related to the profession of gardening as in the case of Domenico Ghirlandaio the last name meaning “Garland”. Conadino is Italian for farmer and Tagabialue was the title given to a butcher. A person working in the position of a judge may be honored with the last name of Auditore meaning “a hearer”.

Conti, Giordano, Mancini, Bruno, Gallo and Colombo are some of the most common Italian last names we get to hear today. Each one of them probably has an interesting history behind it which would surprise us in many cases. Hence we find that what you hear of Italian names is not always what they mean.

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