Cities in "Invisible Cities" by Italo Calvino
If the book wasn't good enough, the names there simply fueled my already there adoration for quirky, peculiar names. It didn't hurt that I share a name with one of the cities in the book ;) For those of you who aren't familiar with the book http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Cities is the place to go. The cities are listed in order of appearance, since it's pretty significant. In brackets I put the original Italian name, because the Italian alternative sometimes is equally pretty or interesting.
Origin:Greek, feminine variation of Anastasios
Description:Anastasia is the feminine form on Anastasius, a Greek name derived from the word anastasis, meaning "resurrection." It was a common name among early Christians, who often gave it to daughters born around Christmas or Easter. There are handful of saints named Anastasia, including the patron saint of weavers.
Meaning:"she who brings victory"
Description:A name with a surprising amount of history--it was the name of the wife of Ptolemy I of Egypt, occurs in the New Testament, and belonged to a fourth century saint. In the US, it has long been spelled and pronounced Bernice. Nicknames include Bernie, Berry, Binnie and Bunny.
Origin:Feminine form of Cecil, Latin
Description:Cecilia is a lovely classic name deservedly enjoying a new turn in the sun. Always among the Top 500 girls' names in the US, Cecilia is now at its highest point ever.
Meaning:"young green shoot"
Description:Chloe is a pretty springtime name symbolizing new growth. Though slightly off its peak in the Top 10 in 2010, Chloe still ranks in the Top 20 and is solidly a modern classic.
Origin:Medieval form of Clarita, a derivative of Clara
Description:If you’re a fan of the annual animated Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, you’ll recognize the name of Rudolph’s beautiful doe sweetheart, pronounced cla-REES—uncomfortably close to the Silence of the Lambs pronunciation. Clarice was the name of the wife of Lorenzo de' Medici, and Clarice Cliff was a famed British ceramics artist. Though a Top 300 name from 1906 to 1934, modern parents might prefer the more delicate Clarissa.
Meaning:"gift of God"
Description:Dorothea is a flowing and romantic Victorian-sounding name which was popular in the early decades of the twentieth century, but has been off the charts since 1970. Definitely on the brink of a revival!
Origin:Spanish and Portuguese
Description:Esmeralda came into use as an applied use of the Spanish word for emerald, esmeralda. In the 1831 Victor Hugo novel Notre-Dame de Paris, also known as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, the heroine was born Agnes, but called La Esmeralda in reference to the jewel she wears around her neck. The name Esmeralda got increased visibility via the Disney version of the story.
Description:Ancient martyr's name that, though not especially appealing, might still be mildly possible, especially for Anglophiles. It was widely used in early Scotland, but was overtaken by its nickname, Effie.