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The Italian Name Generator

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Looking for an Italian name for a character? Can you not quite get your protagonist to sound like a realistic person? Then get yourself some assistance, and use The Italian Name Generator!

Simply select your choices from the form below and click the button to generate your name and description!

  1. Choose how to get your name

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About Italian names

About Italian names

Italians utilise a relatively traditional system of given first name followed by family surname, although the given names are handed down with a very strict sense of hierarchy. The first son will be named after the paternal grandfather, while the second son will be named after the maternal grandfather – and with daughters, the situation is the same but with grandmothers. This was done to show respect to elders and tradition, and as a way of being reminded of your family's background and making sure those elders' names would live on. In larger families, once all the grandparent names have been handed down, it's then possible to start naming children after aunts or uncles, siblings, and saints. This custom was especially common in Sicily, and the more southern areas of Italy. Children can be baptised with multiple given names, and often these are the names of saints – these names will be used in church records, but the first given name is the only one that will be used in civil records.

Modern Italian names have inherited few details from Roman names, despite the massive historical impact of the Roman Empire. Roman names were structured as a first given name, followed by a gentile name (which can be viewed as meaning 'race', 'family' or 'clan'), followed by a personal or family surname. This system did have a major impact across Europe on naming conventions, but it virtually vanished from Italy during the Middle Ages. In certain sections of this period of history, surnames were not used – but once the population began to grow, descriptive surnames were used more regularly (with names like Giovannia being turned into Giovanni Basso ('Giovanni the short'). These names would initially only be applied to one person, but after a few generations they started to be used by the entire family.

During the medieval era, some families would often be referred to by the name of their ancestors as a plural – for example, members of the Ormanno family would have their surname written as 'degli Ormani', meaning 'of the Ormannos family'. The possessive 'degli' or 'de' suffix (meaning 'of the') was eventually dropped, and this is the reason why a large number of Italian surnames end in 'i'. Some name ending suffixes are used to show endearment ('–ello' or '–etto', meaning 'little'; or '–one' meaning 'big') while others are characteristic specific regions of Italy (like '–aro' or '–isi' from Sicily (e.g. Cavalaro or Cherisi), or '–ai' or '–ucci' from Tuscany (e.g. Bolai or Balducci).

Last Updated: 28th November 2018.

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