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Italo Surnames


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Test Your Italian Cultural Knowledge

At last there are Italian themed blogs where Italian Americans and Italophiles can learn more about their great Italian heritage. Just click on the following website: and you will find six Italian blogs and culture quizzes that I guarantee you will love reading. 1] So They Call Us Tomato Lovers 2] Where’s The Italian Cheese? 3] Man Without A Sweet Tooth 4] In Vino Veritas 5] Falling In Love With Giulia 6] An Art Book Prologue With An Italian Twist. [For computers click on Blog Tab. For cell phones Scroll Down to blogs]

Below, you will discover the newest quiz concerning the origins of the 25 most popular Italian Surnames in Italy.

For many years, I thought my surname of Radomile was undeniably Italian. I was wrong. I learned that my Bosnian ancestors settled in the region of Abruzzo across the Adriatic Sea during the 16th century. Radomile is a Bosnian surname that translates to: Rado meaning Son of, and Mile meaning Soldier. Together for Son of a soldier.

Radomile in Republika Srpska is a city in Bosnia and Herzegovina about 82 mi (or 131 km) north-west of Sarajevo, the country's capital city. The second largest city is Banja Luka, which is just north of Radomile.

Not only am I grateful to the science of genealogy for this information, but I was also inspired by Bosnia’s history to write a 200,000 word novel entitled The Spear of Lepanto which addresses the pivotal 1571 Battle of Lepanto that saved Italy from Ottoman Turkish invasion.

A major character in novel and screenplay adaptation features the writer of Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes. Screenplay is titled: The Forgotten Adventures of Miguel de Cervantes.

Italian Surnames *See Answers Below

1] This comes from the Italian word ‘manco’ which literally means left-handed and is Italian in origin.

2] This popular Italian surname originated from the Italian word Barbiere, which means ‘barber’.

3] Surname derived from the Italian adjective ‘ricco’ which means ‘curly’ and its variations like Rizzo are a nickname for someone with curly hair.

4] Surname commonly given to children in Italy who were abandoned or given up for adoption by their parents. After the unification of Italy in 1861, laws were put in place that forbid the practice of giving surnames that reflected a child’s origins.

5] This common last name is supposed to be originated from the Latin word Peregrinus, meaning ‘a foreigner’ or ‘a pilgrim’.

6] This surname indicates an individual from Greece.

7] This surname comes from the Italian form of the name Jordan. This particular surname has its roots in the Hebrew name “Yarden” which is the name of the Jordan River flowing between the countries of Jordan and Israel. It is derived from ‘yarad’ which means to flow down.

8] This name is derived from the diminutive of the given name of Mauro, the Italian form of Maurus, meaning dark-skinned of someone coming from Mauritania in northern Africa.

9] A popular Italian surname coming from the Italian word for ‘lion’. It can be a nickname for your lion-hearted baby. My Abruzzese father was a surviving twin, can you guess his first name?

10] This surname denotes a person who lived by a river or the sea and comes from the words coast or riverbank. It is Italian, Spanish and Portuguese in origin. My mother was born on an island named Salina off the coast of Sicily.

11] This surname comes from the word ‘bianco,’ meaning ‘white’ and was often given to a person who had white hair or a very light complexion.

12] The surname was derived from the Latin word, ‘marinus,’ meaning ‘of the sea’.

13] Deriving from the Old French word, ‘conte’ meaning count, it denoted someone who worked for a count (noble) or was possibly himself a count.

14] This popular surname means ‘boy’ or ‘a young apprentice’ in Italian.

15] Is said to be the most common surname in all of Italy and very common in other countries due to the Italian diasporas during the 19th and 20th centuries.

16] If you love trying different hats, you could try this popular surname as a nickname, which means ‘a little round hat’.

17] Originally deriving from Martinus, or commonly known as Mars, the Roman god of war and fertility, the name has become famously linked to a drink.

18] A patronymic (a name that derived from the name of the father) surname meaning ‘son of Luca.’ The given name was the Italian translation of Luke, from the Greek name Loukas meaning from Lucania, a region found in Italy.

19] This is a geographical surname for someone who came from Lombardy, a specific region in Italy which received its name from the Lombards, a Germanic tribe who invaded the region in the 6th century.

20] From the Italian word for brown. It was a nickname for a person with brown clothing, hair, or skin. It comes from the German word, ‘brun,’ meaning dark brown.

21] The Roman word Valens is the root word for this surname, which means ‘healthy and vigorous’.

22] This surname is from the Italian word for dove and was a last named often given to dove keepers. This name also increased in popularity during the middle ages due to the fact that the dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit in Catholicism.

23] This last name is an occupational surname from the Italian word ‘ferraro’, which means blacksmith.

25] This was a nickname for a proud person or one with a vain or cocky attitude. It comes from the Latin ‘gallus,’ which means cock or rooster.

25] The Italian word for ‘Romanus’ and the Latin word for Rome. This popular Italian surname was often used to denote an individual from Rome, Italy.


1] Mancini 2] Barbieri 3] Ricci 4] Esposito 5 Pellegrini 6] Greco 7] Giordano 8] Moretti 9] Leone 10] Costa 11] Bianchi 12] Marino 13] Conti 14] Caruso 15] Rossi 16] Coppola 17] Martini 18] De Luca 19] Lombardi 20] Bruno

21] Valentino 22] Colombo 23] Ferrari 24] Gallo 25] Romano

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