Campanian Last Names

The most common surname in the Campania area is Esposito (which derives from the latin word expositus literally meaning a list of abandoned children usually on display in front of charities, churches or monasteries). This is followed by Caiazzo, Annunziata and Scognamiglio (deriving from nicknames used in the dialect from the word scugnà meaning "to thresh", referring to the activity of grain threshing). These last 3 surnames are particularly popular in this region.

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An important characteristic of family names used in the Campania area, which is also common with the rest of the southern peninsula, is the use of the single form (ending with -o) which is because of habits of civil-law notary transcriptions. Another point of interest is the use of the suffixes -iello (Picariello) -uolo, -illo and -icchio (Varricchio) and last but not least, is the use of the preposition De such as De Rosa, De Luca, D'Angelo and De Simone.

Regarding the category of surnames deriving from trades we have Piscopo ("bishop"), Iodice ("judge"), Castaldo ("steward"), Conte ("count"), Barone ("baron"), Monaco ("monarch"), Pastore ("shepherd"), Forgione (from the word fabbro meaning "blacksmith"), Senatore and Abate.

There is a wide range of surnames linked to nicknames such as Russo, Luongo, Riccio ("curly"), Fusco, Peluso ("hairy"), Barbato ("with a beard"), Caputo, Capuozzo, Pinto, Musella, Cozzolino, Palumbo, Tortora ("turtledove"), Apicella (which derives from the latin name Apicius of which we have an example in the satire of Giovenale: "...emit sibi. multa videmus quae miser et frugi non fecit Apicius. hoc tu succinctus patria quondam, Crispine,..."), Caruso ("shaved head"), Gargiulo (deriving from gargia or "mouth, jaw, cheek"), Capasso ("able"), Varriale ("clay soil", a nickname associated with mud) and Coppola (from the word copricapo which means "hat", but with the meaning of "silly person").

The last important group of surnames originate from regional areas such as Ferrara, Greco, Capuano, Formisano ("from Formia"), Sorrentino, Calabrese and Franzese.