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Italian Girls’ Names: Le tante sorelle di Isabella

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Elisabeth Wilborn, creator of one of our absolute favorite blogs, You Can’t Call It “It,” introduces us to the wide world of great Italian girls’ names beyond Isabella. Elisabeth, a writer, artist, and mom, lives in Brooklyn, New York.

You don’t have to be Italian to fawn all over Isabella.

She’s lyrical, historical, and even practical with nicknames Bella and Izzy at the ready.  It’s no surprise that she and cohorts Olivia and Sophia would be storming up the charts, now assuming spots 1, 3, and 4.  But are these the only options for little girls if you want to honor your Italian heritage?

Let’s take a look at what people are choosing in New Jersey.  As housewife fame has evidenced, they’re heavy on Italian pride.

Top picks for the state include:

Adriana (#64), Adrianna (#95), Angelina (#30), Ariana (#46), Arianna (#43),
Gabriella (12), Gianna (#11), Julia (#19- Giulia in Italy), Isabella (#1), Juliana (#49), Julianna (#63), Maria (#65), Natalia (#72), Olivia (#2), Sophia (#3), Valentina (#92), Victoria (#22- Vittoria in Italy).

Italian-American mothers often lament that all the good names are taken by their family and friends.

I assure you the options are vast!

If you’ll be summering with Nonna in Toscana, you may want a choice that is both well loved there and reads undeniably Italian here (rankings are from Italy in 2008): Alessia (#8), Chiara (#5), Federica (#21), Francesca (#9), Giada
(#13), Giorgia (#6), Ludovica (#27)Ilaria (#25), Vittoria (#26).

Italy also has a few popular names that wouldn’t necessarily scream Carbonara: Alice (#10), Anna (#11), Beatrice (#18), Elisa (#12), Emma (#14), Greta (#14), Marta (#29),  Martina (#3), Matilde (#15), Nicole (#30)Noemi (#19), Sara (#4).  Note Alice and Beatrice are pronounced ah-LEE-che and be-ah-TREE-che.

A triumvirate of recent Cosimas, Claudia Schiffer’s child, Sofia Coppola’s baby, and a Windsor 22nd in line to the throne, remind us that there are still other genuine Italian names to cull from the history books.  Some are quite antique, but just as we have “old lady chic” here, so too do they in Italy.

I urge you to take a chance on an ancient beauty:

Agnella

Alessandra

Anastasia

Antonia

Artemisia

Aurelia

Aurora

Cecilia

Chiara

Claudia

Cosima

Costanza

Diana

Elena

Elisabetta

Fabrizia

Filippa

Filomena

Fiora

Flavia

Flora

Gemma

Ginevra

Giulianna

Letizia

Lucia

Lucrezia

Maddalena

Marcella

Mariella

Marina, Marinella

Milena

Minerva

Ottavia

Paola, Paolina

Priscilla

Raffaella

Renata

Romilda

Rosalia

Sabina

Serafina

Serena

Sibilla

Silvana

Silvia

Simona

Susanna

Taddea

Tiziana

Valentina

Veronica

Vincenza

Violetta

Viviana

Should you have a boy, Armani may rank in the top 100 for males in Rhode Island, but does not come recommended as a genuinely Italian choice.

Elisabeth can be reached at:

Twitter:  youcantcallitit  LINK: http://twitter.com/youcantcallitit

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