The map above shows which surnames (last names) are most popular in each Italian region. Although, even these surnames only account for around 1% of all Italian surnames due to the huge diversity that exists.
Reddit user medhelan also points out a few other interesting things:
- The Rossi/Russo North/South divide with both surnames meaning “red”
- The variations of Ferrero/Ferrari/Fabbri/Fabris/Favre in the North all meaning “smith”
- The almost total absence of surnames ending in -i in the South while they’re extremely common in the North and in the Centre
- -n ending surnames in Veneto and Friuli due to the elimination of the final -i
- Austro-Bavarian surnames in Trentino-Sudtyrol and Arpitan surnames in Val d’Aosta
- The difference between Sardinia and the rest of the country
You can learn more about Italian genealogy and surnames from the following books:
- Our Italian Surnames
- The Family Tree Italian Genealogy Guide: How to Trace Your Family Tree in Italy
- Italian Genealogical Records: How to Use Italian Civil, Ecclesiastical & Other Records in Family History Research (Italian Edition)
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Tomasz Pluskiewicz says
+1 if read those labels with Italian-esque accent 😀
I’d like to point that “Russo” by itself means “russian”, not “red”. Or, as verb, it could mean “russare” (“Io russo” = “I snore”). I don’t doubt that it comes from a modified “rosso”, but in modern italian that’s not what it means.
(source: I’m italian)
rich l russo says
You are absolutely right.
The name Russo, meant a Norman, which in French and Italian means a Norseman. In the region of Sicily and Southern Italy, which was called Magna Graecia the language spoken there was Byzantine Greek, seconded by Arabic and not Latin and when the Normans landed in Sicily they were all known as Rus, from Scandinavian meaning He Rows, or the Men Who Row. The Varangian Rus were body guards to the Byzantine Emperors. Russo is a latinization of Rus meaning a member of the Rus, a Viking. We find it in Southern Italy because Central and Northern Italy didn’t have a Norman Conquest. It meant a Norman long before it came to mean a Russian.
Elamo Petalino says
Petalino , is my last name. What does it mean?
Mine is Pettalino but I have family who spell is Petalino and we originate from Napels
Where can you buy these maps?
Toni Rispoli says
My name is Rispoli. What does it mean and where did it originate?
Maurizio Morabito says
this map is wrong. There is no Italian surname “Italianismo” in Apulia, and the typical surnames in Lunigiana are all incorrect. And this is for two areas that I know very well.