Judeo-Italian Names Honor History

Judeo-Italian Names Honor History

For centuries, a vibrant Jewish community has thrived in Italy, tracing its roots back to ancient Rome. The first Jews arrived from Greece during the days of the Roman emperors, and after the Inquisition, Spanish and Portuguese Jews arrived in the late 1400s. In the late Middle Ages, Eastern and Central European Jews immigrated to Italy as well. All of these waves of immigration gave rise to a special community with distinct culture, cuisine, and literary traditions.

Over the years, a number of Judeo-Italian languages and dialects developed, combining linguistic elements of Hebrew, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and even Yiddish, another Jewish language. Various Italian regions had their own dialects of Judeo-Italian, such as Judeo-Venetian from Venice and Judeo-Piedmontese from Piedmont.

Tragically, a large portion of the Italian Jewish community was lost in the Holocaust. However, Italian Jews and individuals with Italian Jewish heritage can still be found across the globe, preserving and celebrating their unique culture.

Judeo-Italian is now an endangered language, with just a few hundred native speakers left. One way to keep this beautiful language alive in a modern context could be to use a Judeo-Italian first name or middle name for your little one, particularly if your family has Italian Jewish heritage.

Without further ado, be prepared to be inspired by these gorgeous Judeo-Italian names for girls and boys.

Judeo-Italian Girl Names

Allegrezza (ah-leh-greh-tsa)  "happiness"

Altadonna (ahl-ta-doh-na) — "woman of high rank; aristocratic lady"

Belfior (bel-fee-yor) "as beautiful as a flower"

Bensivenuta (ben-see-veh-noo-ta) — "welcome"

Bonadonna (bohna-doh-na) — "good lady"

Caracosa (kahra-coh-sa) — "precious thing"

Caradonna (kahra-doh-na) — "beloved lady"

Clemenzia (klem-en-tsee-ah) — "merciful"

Contenta (cone-ten-ta) "one who is contented"

Desiata (desi-ah-ta) — "desired"

Diamante (deeya-mahn-tay) "diamond"

Dolce (dol-chay) — "sweet"

Fata (fah-ta) "fairy"

Fiescha (fee-yesha) meaning unknown

Frescarosa (fress-ka-ro-sa) — "fresh rose"

Gemmelia (jeh-mell-ya) "twin"

Gentildonna (gen-teel-doh-na) "a lady from the same family"

Giammilla (jah-mee-la) "beautiful"

Livola (lee-vo-la) — meaning unknown, possibly related to the Italian place name Olivola

Malca (mal-cah) — "queen"

Manna (mah-na) the blessed manna bread given to the Jews in the desert in the Exodus story

Muscata (moos-cah-ta)— "musk"

Oravera (or-ah-ver-ah) — "true gold"

Pazienza (pah-tsee-yentsa) "enduring, patient"

Perna (pear-na) "leg"

Ricca (ree-ka) "wealthy"

Sarella (sah-reh-la) "little princess"

Smeralda (smeh-rahl-da) "emerald"

Speranza (speh-rahn-za) "hope"

Violina (vee-yo-lee-na) "to sing, to rejoice; violet"

Virtudosa (veer-too-dos-ah) — "virtuous"

Judeo-Italian Boy Names

Abramuccio (ah-bra-moo-chee-yo) — "father of multitudes"

Ayyo (eye-oh) meaning unknown

Bongiulo (bon-joo-lo) "lovely youth"

Casher (kah-share) correct according to Jewish dietary practices of kashrut

Ciacobbe (cha-koh-beh) — "supplanter"

Crescas (kress-kas) — "growing"

Epriam (eh-pree-yahm) "fruitful, fertile"

Faffaelle (fah-fa-ehleh) meaning unknown, possibly a diminutive of Raffaelle

Gentile (jen-tee-leh) "aristocratic, noble"

Geremia (jeh-rem-eeya) "appointed by God"

Gioiello (joy-yello) — "jewel"

Giuteni (djyoo-teh-nee) "the small"

Isach (ee-sach) "laughter"

Jachobe (ya-cho-beh) "supplanter"

Jachudda (yach-hoo-da) "praised, thanksgiving"

Jequtiel (yeh-koo-tee-ell) "God will feed"

Liaco (lee-ya-ko) meaning unknown, possibly a diminutive of place names ending in -liaco

Livolello (lee-vo-lel-oh) — meaning unknown

Maimon (my-mohn) — "luck, good fortune"

Manahem (ma-na-hem) "causing to forget"

Mattitia (ma-teet-ya) "gift of God"

Moise (moy-seh) "delivered from the water"

Saba (sahba) "grandfather"

Sabato (sah-bah-toh) "the Sabbath day"

Sadoq  (sah-doke) "righteous man"

Sasson (sah-sohn) "joy, happiness"

To Read Next:

Jewish Names

About the Author

Naomi Kaye Honova

Naomi Kaye Honova

Naomi Kaye Honova is a freelance writer with a background in literature and social work, living in Germany with her husband and three young sons. Besides a lifelong passion for names and their meanings, she has written for a variety of publications including Lonely Planet, TimeOut, Today’s Parent, New Lines Magazine and many more.