Piedmont Last Names

Currently the most common last names in Piedmont are divided into 2 categories - traditional, that is to say tied to the territory (generally the North-West) or outside of the territory, mainly due to migration from the South of Italy during the economic boom of the 50's and 60's.

Typical last names are Dalmasso, Barale, Dutto and Giraudo: over 90% of the people with these last names in fact reside in Piedmont.

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Last names deriving from nicknames, names of animals or from the countryside (typical in all of the territory), are more common here than in other regions : Bruno ("brunette"), Grosso ("big") and Grasso ("fat"), Leone ("lion"), Negro ("black"), Ricci ("curly"), Gamba ("leg"), Testa ("head") refer to physical characteristics. Quaglia ("quail"), Cavallo ("horse"), Gallo ("rooster"), Pesce ("fish"), Merlo ("blackbird"), Capra ("goat"), Mosca ("fly"), Volpe ("fox"), Bo (short for bove meaning "ox"), Bracco (breed of hunting dog), Grillo ("grasshopper"), Lupo ("wolf"), Fasano (from fagiano meaning "pheasant") derive from the animal kingdom, whilst Prato ("meadow"), Fiore ("flower"), Bosco ("forest") Fenoglio (from finocchio meaning "fennel") have botanical origins.

Many last names have the singular format (as is common in the South): it is difficult to establish if last names such as Giordano, Leone or Bianco have a Piedmont origin or for example a Naples origin because they are common both in the North and the South. However, it is more likely that they are of Southern origin migrated to the North for the reasons mentioned earlier.

Regarding last names tied to professions, without a doubt the undisputed leader (also the most common on a regional level) is Ferrero, derived from the profession fabbro meaning "blacksmith", as are others such as Ferraro, Ferreri, Ferro, Ferri and Ferraris.

Other professions represented are "goat herdsman" (Cravero), "baker" (Panero), "barrel maker" (Bottero), "butcher" (Beccaria), "cow herdsman" (Boero), "rope maker" (Cordero).
In many of these last names, as is noted in Barbero, Olivero, Cavallero (also tied to professions) the typical suffix -ero is used, equivalent to -aro in the rest of Italy, apart from Tuscany which uses -aio.

An array of last names are those deriving from first names, in particolar those of German origin with the typical suffix -aldo such as Grimaldi, Giribaldi, Rinaldi, Gastaldo but also the variant -audo such as Giraudo, Arnaudo, Einaudi, Rinaudo, Baudino.

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