Lombardy Last Names

The most common surname in Lombardy is Colombo ("dove"). Its' diffusion is due to the habit of baptizing abandoned children taken to the "Pia Casa degli Esposti e delle Partorienti" at Santa Caterina alla Ruota in Milan (an institution founded in 1780 that took in abandoned children; the name Ruota refers to a wheel where abandoned children were placed on the outside, then the wheel turned to transport the abandoned child inside the structure, thus protecting the identity of the mother) whose symbol was a dove.

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Generally speaking, the most common surnames in the region are those related to a well known place in the town centre, such as the church, castle, main road or town well. The most important of these are Castelli ("castle"), Villa, Chiesa ("church"), Pozzi ("wells"), Fontana ("fountain"). Other surnames include Milani, Cazzaniga (from the town of Gazzaniga, previously known as Caccianiga, in the county of Bergamo) Mandelli (from the town Mandello del Lario, in the county of Lecco) Bresciani, Mantovani or more simply Lombardi deriving from the city or from that county.

Particularly common is the name Ferrari, a surname related to the profession of "blacksmith" (from the latin faber farrarius) or from the profession of mining or fusion of iron, but there are also those deriving from other professions or noble titles, such as Barbieri ("barber"), Giudici ("judge") and Baroni ("baron").

Unlike other areas of Italy, there are not many surnames deriving from first names, nicknames or hair/skin colouring, however the exceptions are Bianchi ("white"), Rossi ("red"), Galli ("roosters"), Corti ("short"), all of which are very common.

Another surname worth mentioning is Fumagalli which literally means "chicken thief" but is intended to indicate a bad or dishonest person, (not exactly a chicken thief, but to indicate a person of disrepute). This is one of the most traditional surnames of the region, being almost completely diffused only in Lombardy (see the diffusion of the surname Fumagalli in Italy)

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