The 20 Most Popular Italian Baby Names
If your baby comes from Italian descent, it’s no wonder you want to give him or her a name that pays homage to your ancestry. But giving your baby a typically Italian name can also simply signify your love for the country and its cuisine, architecture, history and art. And some day, who can say that young baby Florencia won’t eventually end up living and working in Italy?
For a little inspiration to get you started, here are the most popular Italian baby names for girls and boys based on the country's latest official statistics.
Francesco, the original name that inspired both "Francis" and "Frank," is the most popular Italian male name. It literally means "French person," an unusual meaning considering its commonality in Italy. However, the word "French" in this case takes on its original meaning from the Latin, "free one."
Young and not-so-young fans of “Cars 2” can also recall the character, Francesco Bernoulli. It is also the name shared by the Italian writer Francesco Berni and the composer Francesco Cavalli.
The Italian Sofia is a version of the original Greek name, "Sophia," meaning "wisdom, skillful." The name has been common in England since James I named his daughter Sophia in the 17th century.
In its various forms, including Sophia, Sofia and Sophie, this was the most popular name in the United States between 2000 and 2017. Director Sofia Coppola and actress Sofia Vergara, of “Modern Family” fame, are both popular examples of this beautiful name.
Leonardo is inspired by the Old French language and also Old High German, "Lewenhart." The two elements come together to mean “lion heart.” While it didn’t really gain traction until the 19th century, the name has since become the second most popular Italian boy's name.
Famous namesakes include painter Leonardo da Vinci and actor Leonardo di Caprio. The more anglicized version of the name is Leonard, with many ’60s folk music fans naming their offspring after Leonard Cohen.
The Italian version of the name Julia derives from the Latin masculine names Julio and Julius. It has remained among the top 150 names for girls in the United States for the past 100 years.
There are many destinations and landmarks in Italy that may inspire parents to name their child Giulia, including Capella Giulia (a chapel in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome), Santa Giulia (a former monastery in Lombardy) and Valle Giulia (a valley near Rome). Other famous Giulias include Giulia Botti, an Italian triathlete and ski mountaineer, and Giulia Novelli, an Italian opera singer.
The Italian version of the name Alexander, the name Alessandro means "defender of man." Other languages have adopted the name as Alejandro, Alexandru and Alexandre.
The current head of design house Gucci is Alessandro Michele, with other famous namesakes including Alessandro Safina, an Italian tenor, and Italian football player Alessandro Sturba.
Most commonly, this name makes reference to the Roman goddess of the dawn. It comes traditionally from Latin, though it is also popular in Russia and India. After the Russian Revolution in 1917, the name became more popular due to the Aurora cruiser playing a central role in this historical event.
The Sanskrit name, Aarushi, translates to the “first rays of the sun at dawn.” The name is closely related to the word Arusha, which first appears in the Rig Veda, a holy Indian text. Disney fans will also recall that Sleeping Beauty was named Aurora.
Both a common first name and surname, Lorenzo most easily translates to Laurence or Lawrence. An ancient Roman city in the south of Rome, Laurentum was the origin for the name, which translates as "originating from Laurentum."
It has since been considered to have more to do with the laurel wreath, a symbol of achievement and knowledgeability. Famous people named Lorenzo include football player Lorenzo Insigne and singer Lorenzo Antonio.
Not traditionally considered an Italian name, this moniker has European and British history primarily. The French adapted the German name "Adalheidis" (noble one) to Adelaide, which the English further modified to be Alys, Aeleis and then Alice.
The name became popular when Queen Victoria named her daughter Alice in 1843, followed by the publication of Lewis Carroll's classic novel, “Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,” in 1865. It peaked in popularity in the U.S. in the 1880s but has clearly become quite popular in Italy.
Pronounced "Matt-ee-ah," this is the Italian form of the name "Matthias" from the German language. In other languages it becomes Mattheus (Biblical Latin), Matthew (English), Mateja (Serbian) and Matthias (Swedish).
This is the name of the apostle in the New Testament who is chosen to replace Judas Iscariot, once his treason is realized. Two Hungarian kings were also named Matthias, one of whom (Matthius Corvinus) introduced major reforms to the kingdom in the 15th century.
Ginevra translates most easily to the English "Genevieve", "Guinevere" or "Jennifer." It also refers to the Italian form of "Geneva," the Swiss city.
The popularity of the name in Italy has risen dramatically in the past few decades, rising from No. 82 in 2002 to No. 5 in 2017. Leonardo da Vinci painted a famous portrait of Ginevra de Benci, a Florentine aristocrat. Harry Potter fans, however, will recognize the name from character Ginevra Weasley.
The name Andrea originates from the Greek "Andros," meaning “manly,” and it can translate to Andre or Andrew. The name can be extended, usually in Greek, to Androgeos (man of the earth), Andronikos (man of victory) or Androcles (man of glory).
Famous inspirations include Andrea Bocelli, the opera singer, and Flemish physician Andrea Vesalius, the founder of modern human anatomy. Andrea is also a common female name in most cultures, even in Italy as of late.
Emma is derived from the German "ermen," meaning "whole." This root word has also inspired names like Emmeline and Emily. It was the name of King Ethelred II's wife, Emma of Normandy, making the name common in England.
It has consistently rated as one of the most common names in the United States, Britain, France, Sweden, Canada, Australia and Spain over the past decade. Famous Emmas include actress Emma Watson and Jane Austen's title character in both book and film.
Gabriele originates from the Normandy region of France as a surname derived from the given name Gavriel (meaning "God has given me strength").
Noteworthy people that inspire this choice of name include Italian footballer Gabriele Paoletti and Italian astronomer Gabriele Cattani. Those with a passion for numbers may also name their son after Gabriele Torelli, the Italian mathematician (un matematico italiano).
A Latin form of the masculine "George," this name has roots in the Greek word "georgos," which translates to “farmer or earth worker.” In other languages, the name becomes Gergana (Bulgarian), Georgina (Dutch), Georgette or Gigi (French), Gyorgyi (Hungarian) and Georgiana (Romanian).
Giorgia Todrani is known purely by her first name. An Italian singer, songwriter, radio host and record producer, she is best known for her signature soul and R&B sound.
Translating to the anglicized name of Richard, Riccardo can be both a first name and surname, meaning "powerful leader."
Famous namesakes include Riccardo Bacchelli, a writer, and Riccardo di Segni, chief rabbi of Rome. Fashion lovers will know the celebrated designer Riccardo Tisci, who has designed for Givenchy and Burberry.
This name is considered an abbreviated form of the name "Margaret," meaning “pearl.”
The celebrated Swedish actress Greta Garbo epitomized glamour and romanticism in the 1940s. Other famous inspirations include German dancer Greta Wrage von Pustau; Greta Podleski, a Canadian chef and TV host; and Greta Scacchi, an Italian-Australian actress.
The Hebrew translation of this classic Italian name is "gift of god." Matteo is translated to Matthew in other cultures or the female, Mattia. Famous inspirations include Matteo Tosatto, an Italian cyclist, or Matteo Renzi, an Italian politician.
A common name worldwide in its various forms, Matthew is considered a sacred name due to Matthew the Apostle who is one of the 12 apostles of Jesus and creator of the Gospel of Matthew.
Martina is a feminized version of the Latin name "Martinus," referring to the Roman god of war, Mars.
The internationally renowned tennis star Martina Navratilova raised the popularity of the name throughout Europe at the height of her fame in the 1980s. It also peaked in popularity in the U.S. at this time. Other famous namesakes include Amerian country singer Martina McBride and Martina Topley-Bird, a British singer.
The Italian version of Thomas, the roots of this name are in the Aramaic "teoma," meaning "twin."
As with Matthew, or Matteo, this name is shared by one of the 12 apostles in the Bible. Other popular Italians with the name include Renaissance painter Tommaso de Aleni, footballer Tommaso Arrigoni, prelate Tommaso Pasquale Gizzi and actor Tommaso Salvini.
Beatrice has origins in the Latin “Beatrix,” which means "she who makes happy." The French and Italian form of the name is Beatrice, with a Spanish and Portuguese variation, Beatriz. The name is popular in Romania, though less so in the United Kingdom and United States, where it ranked No. 691 for baby girls in 2012.
Those seeking inspiration can look to Beatrice Roberts, an American actress, or Beatrice Lanza, an Italian triathlete.
Many of the most popular Italian names have Latin, Greek and Roman origins with similar names appearing in other European cultures.
Whether the name refers purely to people or also to places, parents of non-Italian descent can take global inspiration when naming their child in the desire and hope that their children take an interest in both international culture, travel and history.