8 junio, 2024

The 100 most common Italian surnames and their meanings

We make a compilation of the most common Italian surnames and explain their meanings

The italian surnames they reveal important elements of their culture as a nation. They usually have Latin roots that go back to the Roman Empire, but there is also a great Germanic influence, especially in northern Italy.

By tradition in this European country, children could only have one last name: their father’s. In addition, women lost their birth surname at the time of marriage and had to adopt their husband’s.

Since 2016 the legislation governing the identification of infants in Italy has changed and allows, if the parents agree, the child bears the surnames of both parents (the father’s first, followed by the mother’s). .

List of the most popular Italian surnames

– Alberti

This surname is derived from the male name Alberto, of German origin, which means ‘it shines for its nobility’.

– I love

It can be translated into Spanish as ‘beloved’ and comes from the Latin proper name Amatus, which in Italian became Amato as a first and last name.

– Barbieri

It comes from the name of the profession of ‘barber’ (or ‘hairdresser’). This surname enjoys great popularity within Italy.

– Baron

It is thought that it may derive from the Germanic word baro, which means ‘free man’, so it would mean ‘free family’. It has also been proposed that it derives from the nickname given to mercenaries.


Its literal translation is ‘low’, it is thought to come from a nickname related to the height of the person who wore it.


One of the possible origins is that the original bearer of this surname was a person linked to the army or with a strong character. It is also thought that it can be a place name, that is, that the surname is derived from a place.


This Italian surname can also have several roots: one of them is the word ‘beautiful’ used as an attribute. Another of the origins that it could have is the place name.

– Benedetti

It comes from the name Benedicto, which was generated from the Latin expression Benedicto which means ‘well said’ or ‘the one who speaks well’.

– Bernardi

This surname arose from the Italian form of the name Bernhard (Bernardo) of German origin, which can be interpreted as ‘brave as a bear’.

– Bianchi

It comes from the word ‘white’ in Italian language (white). It can be related to a physical characteristic such as hair or skin, it can also have a spiritual meaning linked to purity or it can indicate origin (house color or place name).

– White

Like Bianchi this Italian surname means ‘white’.


It comes from the homograph masculine name, although another possibility is that it stems from the German surname Brun. In both cases they refer to a person with brown hair or tanned skin.

– Caputo

This last name comes from a Latin expression cāput-cāpitis-cāpitem which literally translates to ‘head/head’ and means someone had a large head or was considered stubborn.

– Carbone

It can come from the profession of coal miner (someone who extracted coal or sold it) or from some place name, which would indicate the person’s origin.


It is an Italian surname that arose from the Sicilian word caruso which translates as ‘child’.

– Castelli

Derived from the Latin word for ‘castle’ (castle in Italian) and was given to people who lived in, worked in, or owned a castle.

– Cattaneo

It has Latin roots, specifically in the position of captain (captain). It is a surname of great antiquity and importance, especially within the Italian city of Genoa.

– Colombo

It comes from the masculine name homograph and means ‘innocent’ or ‘pure’. Its popularity derives from the fact that this was the surname assigned to orphaned infants since they were not to blame for having been abandoned.

– Count

This surname arose from the title of count (count in Italian), it was applied to the friends of those who held that noble title, also to some of their employees and in some cases as a mockery of petulant people.

– With you

It has the same root and the same meaning as Conte, so both are literally translated as ‘count’.


It can have two origins, one of them is that coppola can be interpreted as ‘cap’, the second identifies it with the word drinkwhich translates as ‘glass’.

– Coast

Probably this last name is a place name, that is, it was assigned to those people who came from a coastal area both from a river and from the sea.


This surname translates as ‘of the family of Augustus’ or ‘related to Augustus’. So it is known that it follows from this Latin name which means ‘consecrated by divine grace’, ‘majestic’ or ‘venerable’.


It is translated as ‘familiar of Amicus’, a masculine proper name that meant that its bearer was a good person and of good temperament (‘friendly’).


This last name is very popular in Italy and translates as ‘of the family of Angel’.

– De Angelis

Like D’Angelo, this surname indicates affiliation with a person or family named Angel.

– DeLuca

This surname translates as ‘family of Luca’, a name of Greek origin meaning ‘the one who comes from Lucania’, a historical Italian region.

– DeSantis

It is interpreted as ‘related to the saint’, it is thought that its popularity rebounded in the Middle Ages when the cults of martyrs and saints had great support from the Catholic faithful.

– Esposito

This Italian surname translates to ‘exposed’. It was given to all those children who were abandoned by their parents in orphanages, especially in Naples (which had the wheel of the exposed, a window where the baby was deposited anonymously).

– Farina

The meaning of this word in Spanish is ‘flour’ and it is thought that it arose from a nickname given to people who worked in grain mills (in this case wheat).


It derives from the term ‘forge’ (a furnace that was used to work metals, especially it was used in the creation of combat weapons or wrought iron ornaments).


In this case, the surname derives from a very common trade during the Middle Ages: that of a blacksmith or worker in a blacksmith shop. This is the second most popular surname within Italy.


This is thought to be one of Ferrari’s variations, so it still means ‘blacksmith’.

– Ferry

It also shares meaning with surnames related to metal work and translates as ‘related to the blacksmith’.

– Iron

This nickname was given to master blacksmiths and comes from the Latin word ferro.

– Fiore

It means ‘flower’ in Italian and this was a common feminine given name in the Middle Ages. It is believed that it can also be derived from the name of the place of origin of certain people to whom this surname was assigned.


This last name was used by people who lived near a water source. In some cases it was literally an ornamental fountain, in others springs.

– Frank

The use of this surname was linked to the geographical or ethnic origin of a person. That is to say, that it came from France or from the ‘kingdom of the Franks’.

– Galli

It comes from a male name that was very popular in the Middle Ages: Gallo. This generally indicated that a person was of Gallic origin (from Gaul, which was made up of parts of France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, and northern Italy).

– Rooster

Like Galli, its main origin is the name given to the Gauls. Although another of the possible meanings of this surname is that it derives from the nickname ‘gallo’, referring to the animal, which was given to conflicting and arrogant people.

– Gatti

This surname comes from the nickname ‘cat’ (cat) for a cunning person who possesses great agility, abilities that are identified with this animal.

– gentle

It comes from the Latin word gentlemen indicating that an individual belonged to a genes (family group). This term came to mean ‘pagan’ or ‘foreigner’ (non-Roman) and in the Middle Ages its meaning evolved to ‘noble’ or ‘courteous’.

– Giordano

This surname (which is also used as a proper name) derives from the Italian name of the ‘Jordan’ river. The name of this fluvial body can be interpreted in Spanish as ‘the one that descends’.

– Giuliani

It can be translated as ‘belongs to Julio’ and is related to the genes iulia (to which Gaio Julio César belonged). Members of this family claimed that they were descendants of Jupiter (Iovis).

– Grassi

It is related to the surname Grasso and the nickname that originated them both translates as ‘fat’ and refers to a person who is overweight or has a strong complexion, something that was related to good health in times past.

– Grasso

Just like Grassi refers to a robust individual. He relates to the word crasso which translates into Spanish as ‘big’.

– Greek

Derived from the Latin word graecus (‘Greek’) denoting an individual’s ethnic origin, in this case those who hailed from Greece.

– War

It arose from the old Germanic word wera which is translated as ‘fight’, ‘conflict’ or ‘discord’.

– Leon

It can come from the male name León or its variants. It is related to the feline and may indicate that someone had the characteristics of a lion. Others think it may come from the fact that the family heraldry had lions in it.


This surname has several possible origins, one of them being the nickname ‘Lombard’ which referred to ‘people with long beards’. It is also believed that it could originate because those who came from Lombardy were called that.

– Lombard

It shares its origin and meaning with Lombardi. Both surnames used to apply to people from Lombardy or those with long beards.

– Long

It is linked to the word lungo (‘long’) and was applied as a nickname relative to the tall stature of a person.


The word mancino in Italian it translates as ‘left-handed’, so this surname derives from the fact that a person had this characteristic.

– Marchetti

It comes from the Latin name Marcus (‘dedicated to the god Mars’). There are various surnames that arose from that name such as Marchi, Marchetto, Marconi and Marcolini, among others.

– Mariani

It is derived from the proper name Mariano, which is linked to the Catholic religious cult around the Virgin Mary.

– Marini

In Rome the surname o cognomen Mario, this is believed to have become the proper name Marino during the Middle Ages and means ‘related to the sea’ or ‘belongs to the sea’.

– Marine

Derived from the homograph name Marino, probably rooted in the Latin word marinus and it is interpreted as that its bearer has ties to the sea (sailor, fisherman or…

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