Aosta Valley Last Names

Amongst the 5 most common surnames in the Valle D'Aosta area, there is a particular presence of surnames from the south of Italy, namely the Calabria area with names such as Fazari and Mammoliti. Subsequent positions are taken with Raso, Tripodi, Mafrica, Cannatà, Furfaro and others: all of which is due to immigration in the last century, from the south (mainly Calabria) of workers who were mainly employed in the steel industry.

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Typical surnames in Valle D'Aosta differ in that they have a french or French-Provence influence. Bionaz, Diemoz and Grange are associated to place names whilst Blanc, Rosset, Perron and Perrin (Pietro/Peter), Berthod (Berto/Bert) and Brunod (Bruno) refer to nicknames or first names.

To take note of, is the peculiarity of surnames ending in -az, Bethaz, Cretaz, Cuneaz, Curtaz, Marguerettaz, Artaz, Lucianaz. This characteristic can be explained by the habit of scribes or public clerks of french origin who specified that these surnames should be pronounced with the "z" silent and with the accent of the penultimate vowel (an italian type of pronunciation). The final Z was just a graphic symbol that was silent but served to indicate the pronunciation of the rest of the surname. The same explanation is given for surnames ending in -oz such as Marcoz, Luboz or Diemoz.

Nowadays however, two pronunciations exist side by side, the Italian version where the final Z is heard, and the french version which tends to cut short the pronunciation (or accent it such as Bionà).

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