If parents just can’t find the right name for the baby amongst the baby books and the names of the neighbours, then try turning to a different area of the world. Sicily, with its Mediterranean climate and thriving tourist industry, boasts a range of beautiful and lyrical sounding names. Being a region of Italy, the most popular names there are typically Italian-sounding.
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It boasts beautiful coastlines and amazing street food. 1000 years ago Sicily was one of the most densely populated regions in the world and is now famous for being the home of famous families. Sicily was also home to the legendary mathematician Archimedes.
The imagination of the Ancient Sicilians was over-stimulated by the presence of the huge Mount Etna: a 60 000-year-old volcano in Sicily that is still live and last erupted in 2013. They named the crater as the home of Cyclops and also the Hephaestus, the God of Blacksmiths.
So despite being only 25, 000 square kilometres, Sicily has a rich and varied history that is reflected in some really ancient names, boasting a range of beautiful and intriguing meanings. Take a look at these 25 exquisite Sicilian names for some inspiration.
This Latin boys’ name means ‘conqueror’ or ‘victor’ and is very popular in Italy. IT is the Italian version of Victor and is the name of such famous Italians as Vittorio Sereni, Italian poet and Vittorio Gassman, Italian actor. In 2017 this name was only number 7787 in the American name charts, meaning that only 5 babies per every million born were given this victorious name. If you love this name but have a girl then you could use ‘Vittoria’, the feminine version.
This gorgeous sounding name is the Italian version of the slightly less glamorous sounding Stanley. This name is made of two parts - Stan, which means ‘stone’ and Leah, meaning ‘clearing or meadow’. So Stanislao is a locational name for someone who lives near a stony clearing. At its peak in the 1910’s, with 2,635 babies per million being a Stanley, this name has dropped hugely in popularity. So if you live near a stoney clearing but don’t really like Stan, try a little Sicilian to make it a little more exotic.
This pretty girls’ name is the Sicilian version of Dolores or Dorothy. Both quite old-fashioned names, they were very popular in the 1920’s and 1930’s and are just waiting for a comeback.
Although they both relate to Adolorata they have very different meanings. Dolores is ‘sorrow’, from the Spanish ‘Maria de los Dolores’ or Virgin Mary of the Sorrows. Dorothy is a bit more upbeat, translating as ‘gift of God’.
Whilst Adolorata is not popular in the celeb world, there are many Italian churches of that name.
The female form of Aloysius, this name has a huge number of variations around the world. You could consider the Croatian Alojzija, the Romanian Luiza or the Lithuanian Luidvika. The most common variety is Louise or Louisa, which translates as ‘great warrior’ or ‘famous in war’.
Famous ladies called Aloisia include Aloisia Kirschner the Austrian novelist (who wrote under the name Ossip Schubin( and Aloisia Brial, a queen of Uvea. This name has never ranked in the American top 1000 names, so would make a unique name for your baby.
This Meditteranean take on ‘Samuel’ turns a plain sounding and common name into something far more exciting. Originally from the Hebrew ‘Shmuel’, this name translates as ‘name of God’ or ‘is asked of God’. Reaching its popularity peak in the 1880’s, Samuel remains in the top 20 boys names now. Born in answer to his mother Hannah’s prayers, Biblical Samuel became the great prophet and judge of Israel and restored law, order, and regular religious worship in the land.
This boy’s name has several different origins. In Scotland, it means ‘red’ and refers to the red-headed clans or people with ruddy complexions, from the Gaelic ‘ruadh’. However it also bears similarities to the Gaelic word ‘ros’, meaning ‘peninsula’, so could be a locational name for someone living on an outcrop of land. Closer to Italy, the Teutonic language translates Ross as ‘mighty horse’. In Old French this name comes from the word ‘roussell’, again meaning ‘red-haired’.
So whilst we may not be entirely sure what it means, Rosolino is a great sounding name that rolls off the tongue.
This gorgeous name is the Italian version of Angela or Angeline. This name is from the Greek ‘angelos’, meaning ‘messenger’. Angels are of course the Biblical messengers and were responsible for carrying all the important messages from God to humanity. For instance, angels told Mary that she was pregnant and the shepherds that Jesus had been born. To elevate your child more, go for Arcangela as one of the archangels were the most important of the posse.
Famous people with this name include the nun and writer Arcangela Tarabotti, Italian nun and writer and Arcangela Paladini, an Italian painter, singer and poet.
No one is sure what the translation for this beautiful name is. Some say, Caroline, some say Lillie. Others go for Gloria or Claudia.
The translation of this feminine form of Calogero comes from the Latin ‘Calogerus’, which means ‘beautiful elder’ or ‘old man’. The patron saint of the Sicilian Village of Villalba and surrounding areas is Saint Calogero. He fled from Africa to Sicily to escape persecution and lived as a hermit. His feast day is June 18, so this is an ideal name for a summer baby.
Whilst this name may make some of us think of Ninja Turtles, others may instantly think of Mr Nadal the tennis champion. The Sicilian version of Ralph, this beautiful name can also be spelt ‘Raphael’, as in genius Renaissance artist.
An ancient name, Ralph was most popular in America in the 1910’s. Originally from Old Norse ‘Rathulfr’, the name literally means ‘rath’ - ‘counsel’ and ‘ulfr’ - ‘wolf’. Whilst the English developed Radwulf, the Italians turned it into the more gorgeous Raffaele.
The Americans and English would translate this name as ‘born on Easter’, but in Italy, it is ‘born at Passover’. It comes from the Latin ‘Paschalis’, meaning ‘of Easter’ but is a derivative of ‘Pascha’ from which comes the Hebrew ‘pesach’.
The English translation of the lyrical Pasquale is Patrick and is traditionally given to babies born over Easter or Passover season.
Boys with this name are said to be imaginative, intuitive and spiritual. They make great leaders and can inspire others.
Chiara is the eighth most popular name in Italy currently and is well used across its neighbouring countries of Switzerland, Germany and Austria too. The anglicized version of Chiara is Clara, Clare, Cara or even Keira. It means ‘light’ or ‘clear’, from the Latin ‘clarus’.
There are a number of saints with this name including Chiara Offreduccio or St Chiara, who was one of the first followers of St Francis of Assisi. Chiara Badano is an example of a brand new saint, an 18-year-old who died in 1990 and is currently being made a saint.
This beautiful name translates as ‘conquering’ and is more common in America as Jenny, Jean or Jane. In other countries, you will find Vinka (Croatia) or Vissenta (Sardinia). Vincenza reached its popularity peak in the 1910’s when 42 babies per every million were Vincenza.
If you love this name but have a boy you could use Vincenzo, or Enzo for short. People with this name have strong characters who can easily lead others and are active, dynamic, courageous, energetic and passionate individuals.
This is an old Latin name from the word ‘Horatius’, which later came to be a common Roman family name. Some think it is related to the Latin ‘hora’, meaning ‘hour, time, period’, but this is uncertain. The English translation is Horace, which has come to be known as ‘timekeeper’.
Whilst Orazio has never ranked in the top 1000 American baby names, Horace was very popular in the late 19th-century with 751 babies per million being named Horace.
Another name deriving from the Latin word ‘Marianus’, meaning ‘of Marius’. Marius was an old Roman family name that people believe comes from Mars. Others believe it to come from the Latin ‘mas’, meaning ‘manly’. Mars was the Roman mythological God of War, so either way, this is a super masculine name and a great choice for your little boy.
Because of the similar sound, Mariano has become associated with Maria, the virgin mother of Jesus, and is often given in her honour. The English translation is Myron or Mike.
This gorgeous feminine name is quite angelic. Found in the Bible, the seraphim were an order of angels. The word comes from the Latin name ‘Seraphinus’ meaning ‘fiery ones’. The Seraphim have six wings each and possess a fiery passion for doing God’s work.
Serafina was also a 13th-century Italian saint who cared for the poor by making clothes for them and has a feast day on March 12th. Serafina, or Seraphina, has never ranked in the top 1000 American names, so could be a lovely unique name for your baby.
A feminine diminutive of the lovely Nicola or Nicole, this name translates as ‘victory of the people’. This name is popular in Italy and Eastern Europe but has never ranked in the top 1000 American names, meaning this would be a really unique name for your little girl if you are in the west.
European alternatives to Nicolina include the Greek Nikoletta, the Slovene Nika and the Bulgarian Nikol. If you have a boy but still love this name then you could use Nicholas instead.
This is the Sicilian form of a name that is used all over Europe. It means ‘great warrior’. It is thought to come from Aloysius, which is the Latin form of Louis, a popular name in England. The French turned it into Loois and the Germans went for Lodovico.
Popular among Catholics, Aloysius was a saint from the 16th century. Aloysius Gonzaga was an Italian aristocrat who joined the Society of Jesus. Whilst caring for plague victims he died aged only 23. Aloysius has a feast day on 21st June, the date of his passing.
From the Spanish name Isidore, this name has the wonderful meaning of ‘gifted with many ideas’. The American version of this name is Sid or Sidney. Of Greek origin, Isidoro originally related to the Goddess Isis and meant ‘gift of Isis’, but the name and meaning have changed over time. In some places it is a locational name, translating both as ‘from Sidon’ and ‘south of the water’.
Although we may not be entirely sure of the meaning, Isidoro and its relatives Theodore, Sid, Issy and Dora are all great names for your child.
This beautiful feminine name is an alternative to Oracia. The name has two meanings. Firstly it is said to be the female version of Horace, which is an old Roman clan name and translates as ‘keeper of time’.
Secondly, it is the Italian version of Grace, from the Latin ‘gratia’, meaning ‘God’s favour’. Orazia has never ranked in the top 1000 American names, yet is a beautiful lyrical name which would be a gorgeous choice for any little girl.
This is a name popular across Eastern Europe and Italy, from the Greek meaning ‘crowned’ or ‘winning’. If you’re not quite sure about this name then rest assured there are many different variations of it around the world including Stephanie or Steph, which currently sits at number 528 in the American baby name lists. There is also Steffie and Stevie, or the Spanish Estebana or Estefani or even the Russian Stefanida. Whichever variation you go for, it’s sure to be a ‘winning’ choice!
This Sicilian take on Carmen, or Nellie, is another with two meanings. In Hebrew, it means ‘golden’. However, in Italian and Spanish, it translates as ‘garden’. In Latin, it refers to a ‘fruitful orchard, such as Mount Carmel in Palestine. Currently sitting at number 2,055 in the American name charts this would make a rare yet beautiful name for your baby girl.
Girls with this name are said to be competent and practical. Although they are quiet in nature they are often very successful and obtain great wealth.
Whilst Grazia is a popular name in Sicily, the anglicized version of Grace is very rare. It currently sits a long way down the list of American names at number 18,983. With variations such as the Irish ‘Grianne’ or ‘Gracella’. Possibly the most famous ‘Grace’ was the American actress Grace Kelly, who became Princess Grace of Monaco.
Girls with this name are often excited by change and adventure and do not like to be restricted by rules and conventions.
This gorgeous feminine name is the girls’ version of Pascal. In 1911 the name reached a peak when 36 babies per million were given this name, but its popularity has dropped greatly over the 20th-century and now the name only ranks in the American baby charts at number 15,354.
The name comes from the Latin ‘Paschalis’ meaning ‘Easter’ or the Hebrew ‘pesach’ for Passover. So this is a name that is commonly given to girls born around the Easter season.
This pretty name is the feminine version of ‘Peter’, meaning ‘rock’. Whilst very popular in Italy and the Netherlands, other variations include Patricia, Ella and Nelly. You could also choose from Pernille in Denmark or Petronia in Ancient Roman.
Famous bearers include St. Petronilla, who is a martyr and daughter of St. Peter the Apostle. She is the patron of those with fever and of the dauphins of France.
There are many successful Dutch sportswomen with this name, including Petronella van Vliet, Olympic swimmer, and Petronella Buch, the Dutch sprinter.
Whilst we may just presume that this is a pretty Sicilian version of the flower name ‘Rose’, this name is actually a Spanish or Latin ceremonial name. It dates back to the annual Roman ceremony of hanging garlands of roses on tombs. This festival of roses usually occurred in May and reflected the devotion Romans showed to their dead.
Saint Rosalia or ‘The Little Saint’ is the patron of Palermo in Italy and has her feast day on July 14th.
References: conigliofamily.com, babycenter.com, sheknows.com,