Italian Baby Naming Traditions and Names

newborn boy
copyright by Elena Litsova Photography/Moment/Getty Images

The nursery is freshly painted and has a new crib. You've aced your Lamaze classes and have an overnight bag packed, waiting at the door. When you last visited the baby doctor your delivery date was confirmed. The only thing you haven't decided on is an appropriate name for your new baby. None of the combinations you've considered have appealed to you. What about an Italian baby name? Maybe there's a Cipriano or a Tranquilla in your future!

Every Tizio, Caio, and Sempronio

How many Italian names are there currently? A recent poll counted upwards of over 100,000 names at the national level. The greater part of these, however, are extremely rare. Experts think there are approximately 17,000 Italian names that appear with regular frequency.

This guide to Italian baby names contains over 1,000 of the most common names, divided equally between male and female. Each entry contains a description with an account of the historical origins of the name, its significance, the English equivalent (if applicable), the name day, and other related Italian names and variations. For instance, the name Antonio (Anthony in English) is derived from the Latin surname Antonius. The female form, Antonia, has several diminutive forms including Antonella, Antonietta, and Antonina. Nicknames and diminutives of Italian names are interesting, not only from an abstract linguistic standpoint, but also because understanding a conversation becomes easier when you know who's being referred to.

And Tizio, Caio, and Sempronio? That's how Italians refer to every Tom, Dick, and Harry!

Italian Naming Conventions

Traditionally, Italian parents have chosen their children's names based on the name of a grandparent, choosing names from the father's side of the family first and then from the mother's side.

According to Lynn Nelson, author of A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your Italian Ancestors, there has been a strong custom in Italy that determines how children are named:

  • the first male is named after his paternal grandfather
  • the second male is named after his maternal grandfather
  • the first female is named after her paternal grandmother
  • the second female is named after her maternal grandmother

Nelson also points out that: "the subsequent children could be named after the parents, a favorite aunt or uncle, a saint or a deceased relative."

Baby Names Beginning With the Letter "C"

Girl NamesBoy Names
CalliopeCaio
CameliaCalimero
CamillaCallimaco
CandidaCallisto
CarlaCalogero
CarmelaCamillo
CarolaCandido
CarolinaCarisio
CassandraCarlo
CatenaCarmelo
CaterinaCarmen
CeciliaCarmine
CelesteCasimiro
CesarinaCastore
ChiaraCataldo
CinziaCatone
CiriacaCelso
ClaraCesare
ClaudiaCesio
CleliaCherubino
ClementinaChiaffredo
ClioChristian
CliziaCino
ClorindaCipriano
ClotildeCiriaco
ColombaCirillo
ConcettaCiro
ConcordiaClaudio
ConsolataClemente
CoraColobano
CordeliaConcordio
CorinnaConsuelo
CorneliaCornelio
CrispinaCorrado
CristianaCosimo
CristinaCosma
 Costante
 Costantino
 Costanzo
 Crescente
 Crescenzo
 Crispino
 Cristian
 Cristiano
 Cristoforo
 Cupido
 Curzio

Baby Names That Begin With the Letter "L"

GIRLS

BOYS

Lara

Ladislao

Laura

Lamberto

Lavinia

Landolfo

Lea

Landro

Leda

Lanfranco

Leila

Lazzaro

Lelia

Lealdo

Leonida

Learco

Letizia

Leardo

Letteria

Lelio

Lia

Leo

Libera

Leonardo

Libera Maria

Leone

Liberata

Leonide

Licia

Leopoldo

Lidia

Letterio

Liliana

Liberato

Lilla

Liberio

Lina

Libero

Linda

Lillo

Lioba

Lino

Lionella

Lionello

Livia

Lisandro

Liviana

Liviano

Lodovica

Livio

Loredana

Lodovico

Lorena

Lorenzo

Lorenza

Luca

Lorna

Luciano

Luana

Lucio

Luce

Lucius

Lucia

Ludovico

Luciana

Luigi

Lucilla

 

Lucrezia

 

Ludovica

 

Luigia

 

Luigina

 

Luisa

 

Luisella


 

Baby Names That Begin With the Letter "P"

GIRLSBOYS
PalmiraPaciano
PaolaPalmiro
PasqualinaPancrazio
PatriziaPantaleone
PenelopePaolo
PetronillaParide
PiaPasquale
PieraPatrizio
PierinaPetronio
PriscaPierino
PriscillaPiero
ProserpinaPietro
PrudenziaPio
PupaPlacido
PupettaPrimo
 Principio
 Prisco
 Procopio
 Proserpio
 Prospero
 Protasio
 Prudenzio
 Publio

Baby Names That Begin With the Letter "V"

GIRLSBOYS
ValaValente
ValentinaValentino
ValeriaValerio
VannaValter
VeneraVenanzio
VenerandaVenerando
VeraVincenzo
VerdianaVinicio
VeronicaVirgilio
VincenzaVirginio
ViolaVitale
ViolandaVito
ViolanteVittore
ViolettaVittorio
VirgiliaVivaldo
VirginiaViviano
VittoriaVladimiro
Viviana