Until recently, Italian names–particularly for boys– have rarely ventured outside their own neighborhoods, but lately we’ve seen several popping up in the celebrisphere—though usually, if not always, used by celebs with Italian roots. There have been at least four Mateo/Matteos, two Roccos, two Romeos, Annabeth Gish’s Enzo, Ricky Martin’s Valentino, and Jill Hennessey’s Marco Gianni.
These are names that have all been pretty firmly assimilated, but there are loads more undiscovered rhythmic and romantic nomi belli that could be considered—a few of which have already gained entrance via their female forms. Here are the Nameberry Picks of 15 of the best underused Italian boys’ names.
Alessio—if Alessandro feels a bit too bulky, how about this more compact, equally handsome short form?
Amato—it means beloved, darling one—as loving and heartfelt as the beginning-to-be-used Valentino
Bello –as handsome as Bella is beautiful, and rarely heard outside the Italian community.
Brando—Yes, people will thinking this is in honor of great screen actor Marlon (who wasn’t Italian), but it is actually a streamlined form of Brandano
Flavio—pronounced FLAH-vee-o, from an old Roman family name meaning fair, golden—a flavorful name that would be perfect for a blond bambino
Gianluca—the Italians are great name smooshers: other appealing combos include Giancarlo, Gianfranco, Gianpaolo, Pierluigi
Luciano—because the girls can’t monopolize all those lovely light-filled Luc-names. Pronounced lu-CHA-no.
Nardo—because Leo isn’t the only nickname name for Leonardo
Orsino—it means ‘little bear’ and plays a part in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night; a romanticized Orson
Remo—This Italian form of Remus recalls the gorgeous Italian Riviera town of San Remo, home of a famous music festival and is in tune with nouveau faves Remy and Romy.
Silvio—a green sylvan name, Italian style
Urbano—urban and urbane—a Papal name that could work for a city boy
Vero—as Vera moves back into fashion, why not the boys’ version of this truth-defined name?
Zenzo—Though Renzo is the more common short form of Lorenzo, Zenzo is also sometimes used; it means crowned with laurels
Zosimo– a zippier Cosimo