Italian Surname Endings – Northern Italy

Did you know you can tell a lot about an Italian Surnames origin by it’s ending?  Or that generally speaking surnames in Southern regions of Italy end in vowels but as one moves North many surnames will end in consonants?  This can possibility be attributed to the fact that Northern Italy
borders have changed several times over the centuries and belonged to
other European countries so surnames were “grandfathered’ in.

Some examples of such surnames and the regions they can found in are:

Anzil – Fruili-Venezia Giulia
Bionaz – Valle d’Aosta
Conchin – Friuli-Venezia Giulia,  Lombardy, Piemonte
De Pellegrin – Fruili-Venezia Giulia
De Sanctis –  Abruzzo, Lazio, Lombardy
Orbel – Piemonte
Perin – Veneto, Lombardy
Rigonat – Fruili-Venezia Giulia
Schiff –  Fruili-Venezia Giulia

Other  surname endings found in Northern regions include:

Suffix Region Example
– otti/utti  Fruili, Lombardy    Pascutti
– otti/utti  Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, Trentino Bortolotti
-aci/ecci/ucci  Tuscany  Ghelarducci
-ai   Lombardy, Tuscany Mungai
-u, -as and -is Sardinia Piccinnu, Marras,
Floris, Melis 


1. Italian Surname Database – accessed 6 Jul 2013

2. Gens-Italia – accessed 6 Jul 2013

3. Webpages by Stephen P. Morse, San Francisco – accessed 6 July 2013

4. Wikipedia  – accessed 6 Jul 2013

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4 thoughts on “Italian Surname Endings – Northern Italy”

  1. Per an email we exchanged back in 2012 (I’ve been pulling a busy schedule!) I want to submit the following info for you. My great-grandmother, Sabatina Catrina D’Oliva was born in Bruggiano, Italy. Province: Pistoia, Region: Tuscany. She married Raeffelo DiVita, of whom I have no birth info. My grandfather, Lorenzo DeVita was born in Lucca.
    Thanks, too, for the assist in finding what I believe might be our Jewish roots in Italy. Lorenzo married a Jewish woman, my grandmother, and we may be able to find these roots also in Italy.
    Wonderful site – thanks for your work.

  2. I am UK born, but my paternal surname is ‘Troillet’ which I have now been able to trace back to northern Italy in the form ‘Trollieti’. The earliest documented example of the name is dated the 4 August 1301 and can be found in the Archivo Storico Multimediale del Mediterraneo (ASSM). In document number UD1000509 Tomasso Trollieti di Pinerolo, described as a Scrittore/Rogatario, is one of several witnesses to correspondence between Philip I of Anjou and Philip I of Savoy. In it the former advises the latter that his brother, Ramon Berenguer, is his brother and the administrator of his business in Piedmont. This is the first known of numerous documents in which he appears. The name itself appears to have its origins in the olive oil trade, but whether it refers to a grower, or processor; a part of his tools and equipment; or even a product, or byproduct is not entirely clear. What is known that a sauce, or condiment known as Troillet is available in food markets in the region to this day. In Thonon les Bains in Haute-Savoie there is a ‘Boulevard des Trolliettes’, which is presumably named either after the family, or after a location where olive oil was produced, or traded. It would seem that a member, or members of the family migrated to southern Switzerland (Canton Valais) sometime around the beginning of the fifteenth century and the name quickly morphed to the French Troillet et var. The family has been represented in many walks of life since that time including, the law, medicine, engineering, commerce, teaching, mountaineering and the church. One infamous member of the family in or around the year 1546 even challenged Calvin’s authority which led to a very public argument between the two. It seems that Troillet, born in Geneva, had spent some time as an eremite, or hermit, in Burgundy. He’d grown disillusioned with the life of a religious zealot and had returned to Geneva in hopes of becoming a minister. Despite presenting dubious letters of recommendation, this was against the law. We read the following in The Life of Calvin: ‘Calvin, who fully understood his pretensions to piety, and saw through his hypocrisy, repelled his advances. The council however directed the consistory to admit Troillet to the situation left vacant by a deceased minister. But Calvin had sufficient influence with the council to procure the reversal of this decree. He even proved that two members of the body had received presents from Troillet; this created great disgust’. The doctrinal argument between them continued for many months with Troillet becoming a member of the chief council of the ‘Libertines’ and accusing Calvin of making God the author of sin. Eventually the two were reconciled, but it was an uneasy truce that existed between them. Since that time the family has spread its tentacles worldwide from Canada in the north to Australia in the south. I believe the modern Italian spelling is ‘Troletti’, but I stand to be corrected on this. Anyway, the question is, does the -eti ending suggest a more southerly origin of the name?

    1. Thanks for your comment. Do seem to have done an amazing job on researching your surname thus far. I’m not sure about the -etti connection being linked to a more southern origin although it is a more common ending used to describe a characteristic [ie: small, little or young]. There may have been a member of the family who wondered into a community and the ending stuck. Then again there is also a possibly the name was recorded as such during an event or series of events [birth of children]. Dialects were many so before Italian was accepted as the official language there were so many variations in spellings of both first and family names. Lastly there is always the possibility that the surname was adopted by the family themselves in an attempt to fit into a particular community or to differentiate themselves from others when the family grew too large. This is by no means a complete explanation but rather a series of possibilities that could be explored further by yourself in order to find your answers. Hope this helps!

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