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Italian Baby Names: Popularity and trends

By Romina Angeleri

Italian baby names often have layered meanings and a lot of romance, which makes them a great choice no matter what your nationality. At the same time – and for much the same reasons – searching for a good Italian name can be tricky. Names that sound perfectly fine to American ears may not be real options in Italy, if, for example, they might sound old-fashioned or carry strong regional connotations. Take Teodora: here’s a great-sounding, but also ancient-sounding name that virtually no one in Italy has chosen for decades. Or Calogero – a once-popular name that has been out of fashion for quite a while.

While finding a popular name can be tricky, the biggest challenge is in the spelling. Unlike in the States, alternative spellings are usually regarded as simply mistakes rather than unique or creative choices – so you have to be careful if you want the real thing! On many websites, you will find Giovanny, Adrianna, or Luka listed as Italian baby names, though in Italy they would be perceived as bizarre deviations from the correct spelling – Giovanni, Adriana, and Luca.

A good place to start searching for Italian baby names would be the annual report of the Italian National Institute for Statistics (Istat), which unfortunately is only published in Italian. But don’t despair – here’s a summary to find out what’s hot on the shores of the Mediterranean!

The most popular name for boys in 2013 was Francesco, a solid traditional name that has been leading the list since 2001. Sofia is the winner for girls, and has been at the top for four years running. Following Francesco, the three most popular baby boy names are Alessandro, Andrea, and Lorenzo; for girls, Sofia is followed by Giulia, Aurora, and Emma. Below is the list of the Top 50 baby names in Italy as of 2013. Among popular baby names, classic names still dominate the charts – especially for boys. However, note that some of the boy names in the Top 50 (marked by an asterisk in the list) are distinctly foreign-sounding to Italian speakers.

GIRLS

1.   Sofia

2.   Giulia

3.   Aurora

4.   Emma

5.   Giorgia

6.   Martina

7.   Chiara

8.   Sara

9.   Alice

10.    Gaia

11.    Greta

12.    Francesca

13.    Anna

14.    Ginevra

15.    Alessia

16.    Viola

17.    Noemi

18.    Matilde

19.    Vittoria

20.    Beatrice

21.    Elisa

22.    Giada

23.    Nicole

24.    Elena

25.    Arianna

26.    Rebecca

27.    Marta

28.    Melissa

29.    Maria

30.    Ludovica

31.    Camilla

32.    Asia

33.    Bianca

34.    Mia

35.    Serena

36.    Eleonora

37.    Benedetta

38.    Miriam

39.    Ilaria

40.    Angelica

41.    Adele

42.    Carlotta

43.    Irene

44.    Alessandra

45.    Caterina

46.    Valentina

47.    Margherita

48.    Federica

49.    Anita

50.    Laura

BOYS

1.   Francesco

2.   Alessandro

3.   Andrea

4.   Lorenzo

5.   Mattia

6.   Matteo

7.   Gabriele

8.   Leonardo

9.   Riccardo

10.  Tommaso

11.  Davide

12.  Giuseppe

13.  Antonio

14.  Federico

15.  Marco

16.  Samuele

17.  Luca

18.  Giovanni

19.  Pietro

20.  Diego

21.  Simone

22.  Edoardo

23.  Christian*

24.  Nicolò

25.  Filippo

26.  Alessio

27.  Emanuele

28.  Michele

29.  Gabriel*

30.  Daniele

31.  Jacopo

32.  Cristian*

33.  Giacomo

34.  Salvatore

35.  Vincenzo

36.  Manuel*

37.  Thomas*

38.  Stefano

39.  Giulio

40.  Nicola

41.  Gioele

42.  Luigi

43.  Daniel*

44.  Giorgio

45.  Samuel*

46.  Elia

47.  Angelo

48.  Domenico

49.  Paolo

50.  Mario

* foreign-sounding

So what do you think? Aren’t they gorgeous?

Buona scelta!

Romina is a lecturer in the psychology department of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, having moved there from Turin, Italy last January.

 

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9 Responses to “Italian Baby Names: Popularity and trends”

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SimoneKadele Says:

February 13th, 2015 at 12:49 am

Chiara, Greta, Ginevra, Alessia, and Matilde are my favorites. 🙂 Also Viola cuz SHAKESPEARE lol.

indiefendi2 Says:

February 13th, 2015 at 2:03 pm

Italian names are my favorite names. I love the Italian cadence.

epowell Says:

February 13th, 2015 at 3:14 pm

WOW. Such lovely names! Wonderful list 🙂

Xenobia Says:

February 13th, 2015 at 10:25 pm

I’ve really come to like the name Valerio 🙂

rosierose Says:

February 14th, 2015 at 2:56 pm

I know several Italian men named Fabrizio, all aged between 20 and 40. Is that name really dated now?

I also know an Italian Olimpia in her mid 20s– is that also perceived as old fashioned?

gipro2003 Says:

February 15th, 2015 at 12:04 pm

I’m a Giulia. I’m German, but my mom fell in love with an Italian actress who was named Giulia. I absolutely adore Italian names!

Aperkkv Says:

February 15th, 2015 at 8:19 pm

@rosierose: Fabrizio was a popular baby name in Italy until the late 90s. In 2013, only 294 little boys were named Fabrizio (0.11%). However, I would say that it doesn’t sound dated or old-fashioned at all, I personally believe it deserves a comeback! In Italy, you still hear this name pretty often. A famous anchorman there is Fabrizio Frizzi, a popular football striker is Fabrizio Miccoli, and one of the most amazing Italian singer-songwriter was Fabrizio De Andrè. I was really surprised to find out the name isn’t popular anymore!

As for Olimpia, it is a classical name from the Greek literature, which is unusual, and always has been. In 2013, only 82 little girls were named Olimpia (0.03%). I believe that it sounds refined and aristocratic, quite “important”, not exactly an easy name to grow up with, but totally usable. To be totally honest, you have to be prepared to the fact that numerous Italian restaurants, hotels, academic programs, and companies are using “Olimpia” as a name!

Thanks all for your interest in my post!

peacebird10 Says:

February 17th, 2015 at 6:45 am

There are many beautiful names on this list that I already love, but I didn’t have Benedetta on my radar before. Now I have a new crush!

tremieli Says:

July 26th, 2015 at 5:54 am

The foreign names are probably used by german speaking italians in the italian alps. They are good german names!

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