Calabrian Last Names

The most common last names in Calabria are Romeo (originating from the byzantine medieval first name Romeo: the byzantine population defined themselves "Romioi" that is to say Roman and there are numerous traces going back to Sicily and Calabria), Russo (linked to the characteristics of hair and skin colouring) and Greco.

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The most typical family last names in the region are Spadafora, Chiappetta, Filice, Laganà (deriving from the greek word lacanas "gardener"), Arcuri (which could originate from a variant of the Lombard name Arculf, or from the term arcarius "treasurer, tax collector" but the most likely answer is that it derives from the greek word arkouda "bear"). Sposato, De Rose, Talarico (should derive from the name Ostrogoth Athalaric), Tripodi, Macrì, Foti, Surace and Crea.

The last names used in the "toe of the boot" but also common in all of southern Italy or the entire peninsula are Ferraro, De Luca, Mancuso, Rizzo, Gallo, Marino, Bruno, Gentile, Giordano, Esposito and Pugliese.

One feature worth mentioning regarding last names from the Calabrian region is the usage of ending with an accented vowel. There are examples of surnames ending in to indicate their origins, their jobs or nicknames such as Calabrò, Aricò ("farmer"), Sgrò ("curly haired"), Nisticò ("one who has not eaten"), Spanò ("hairless, bald headed") and Praticò ("fatherly"); ending in such as Cannistrà, Criserà and Barillà; ending in such as Cutrì, Pennestrì, Putortì and finally in with Franzè (shortening of francese, "french"). Minniti, Scopelliti, Misiti, Politi, Ascioti, Geracioti, Rotiroti are calabrian family names tied the greek termination of -iti and -oti.

Other than finding the last names listed that have a greek origin, there are also family names that derive from arabic origins such as Modafferi (deriving from the saracen name Mudaffar) Morabito (from the arab work murabit, he who preaches Islam in the streets, with the meaning "guru". From Arabic this word has developed and has found itself used in the sicilian dialect giving rise to the term murabitu "moderate") and Mammone.

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