Much like the country of Italy and its people, the Italian language is renowned for its beauty. Whether an Italian last name is popular or famous, rare and unique, or stems from nature or ancestors' occupations, Italian surnames all have one thing in common: they are entirely bellissimo!
Italian Last Names That Reflect Characteristics and Traits
Italian last names sometimes reflect a personal physical characteristic or a personality trait. Does your last name translate to a quality like kindness or wisdom, or does it mean something physical and literal, like brown hair?
- Accetta - Means a person who is "well-liked"
- Argento - Means "silver or gray hair"
- Bianco - Means "white"
- Bertelli - Means "intelligent"
- Bruni - Means "brown"
- De Niro - Means "dark hair or complexion"
- Guiliani - Means "youthful"
- Longo - Means "long" or "tall"
- Leto - Means "joyful"
- Morelli - Refers to dark complexion
- Pelosi - Means "hairy"
- Ricci - Means "curly-haired"
- Segreto - Means "confident"
- Vero - Means "real" or "true"
Italian Last Names Based on Occupations
Last names that represent ancestors' occupations are common in Italy and in plenty of other European counties. Discover what your great-great-great-grandparents did to make ends meet just by researching your surname.
- Abate - Means "high priest"
- Ajello - Means "field" and was a common last name for farmers
- Amato - Means "beloved" or "dear one"
- Barbieri - Means "barber"
- Bonetti - Means "hatmaker"
- Cattaneo - Means "captain"
- Fabbri - Means "craftsman"
- Farina - Refers to "flour"
- Notaro - Means "clerk"
- Pesci - Means "fisherman"
- Saconne - Means "maker of bags"
- Sartorre - Means "tailor"
- Uberti - Means "manufacturer"
- Verga - Common name given to shepherds
- Zappa - Means "laborer"
Italian Last Names That Stem From Nature and Spaces
So many names stem from nature, landscapes, or parts of the country itself. Plenty of Italian last names signify either elements of nature or physical landmarks where a person lived long ago.
- Acquaviva - Means "running water" or "spring"
- Altamura- Means "high walls"
- Costa - Means "slope" or "coast"
- Fiore - Means "flower"
- Lastra - Means "flat rock"
- Lombardi - Refers to those from the Northern region of Lombardi
- Manzo - Refers to "an ox"
- Marino - Means "of the sea"
- Monti - Means "mountains"
- Pagano - Means "village dweller"
- Parisi - Refers to a person who hails from the Paris region
- Pisano - Refers to someone from Pisa
- Porzio - Means "hog"
- Rana - Means "frog"
- Riva - Refers to someone who lives near a port or a river
- Sanna - Means "lily"
- Silvestri - Means "wood"
- Sorrentino - Refers to a person from Sorrento
- Tarantino - Refers to a person from the Southern town of Taranto
Popular Italian Surnames
Should you ever find yourself strolling through the idyllic streets of any Italian village, you will probably hear a couple of these popular Italian names get called out. When it comes to Italian surnames, these monikers are some of the most common in the country.
- Carbone - Means "coal" or charcoal"
- Caruso - Means "boy" or "young apprentice"
- Colombo - Means "dove"
- Conti - Means "companion"
- Esposito - translates to "to place outside." Before unification, this name was often given to children who were given up for adoption or abandoned by their families.
- Ferarri - Means "blacksmith." Third most common last name in Italy
- Gallo - Means "rooster." Was often given to a person who possessed "rooster-like qualities" such as loudness or brazenness.
- Giordano - Means "one who flows down" or "one who descends"
- Grecco -Refers to someone who is of Greek descent. Might have alluded to a crafty person
- Romano - Translates to "Rome" and often signified a person from that particular region
- Rossi - Means "red hair." Was most common in Northern Italy
Italian Last Names With Strange Meanings
When you hear these interesting Italian last names, they don't sound strange, but when you hear the meaning behind them, you will quickly discover they are anything but typical.
- Bellagamba - Means "beautiful leg"
- Carozza - Means "mozzarella cheese"
- Coppola - Means "little round hat"
- Grasso - Refers to someone who is overweight
- Fumagalli - Means "smoked poultry"
- Mancini - Means "left-handed" or "ambidextrous"
- Mezzasalma - Means "half-cadaver"
- Messina - Means "the middle child"
- Sanna - Someone with a large, protruding tooth
Italian Last Names That Are Patronymic
Patronymic names come from the male lineage in a family. They often signify that a person is the son of someone, and identification occurs through giving a name. For example, Pietro Di Alberto would translate to Peter, the son of Albert.
- Agosti - Means "son of Agosto"
- Alfonsi - Means "son of Alfonso"
- D'Amico - Means "friend"
- De Luca - Means "son of Luca"
- Di Maggio - Means "eldest son"
Italian Monikers That Signify Strength
These Italian surnames are truly something to be proud of. They signify strength, and anyone would be happy to carry one of these names with them for life.
- Bernardi -Means "strong and hardy"
- Caputo - Means "unwavering" or "determined"
- Guerra - Refers to "war" or "a solider"
- Leone - Means "lifelike"
- Marchetti - Means "warlike"
- Valentino - Means "strong"
- Vinci - Means "conqueror"
Learning About Your Last Name
What is in a last name? So much! Uncovering the origins and the meaning behind your last name can lead you to a fascinating discovery of your family heritage, culture, and roots. Learn where your last name came from, and you might learn about where your family originated from and possibly what your ancestors did for a living (if your surname represented past occupations). If you are looking to find out more about your family's beginnings, digging into your last name is a great place to start.