Sicilian Last Names

The surnames in Sicily reflect the interaction of cultures and languages that have been superimposed on the island in the course of the centuries.

Despite this, the sicilian onomastic is closely tied to those of southern Italy (differing from Sardinia whose onomastics are completely untied to the Italian continent).

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In fact, in Sicily many common surnames are also equally common in Calabria (Rizzo, Marino, Lombardo, Caruso), Apulia (Giuffrida, Longo, Greco) and Campania (Marino, Romano, Ferrara, Bruno, Russo, Giordano).

Regarding the origins of Sicilian surnames, it is found that many originate from first names (called patronym), trades, nicknames or places of origin.

From the first group derive Vitale, Giuffrida, Di Mauro, Orlando, Di Stefano, Di Salvo, Basile, Leonardi, etc...
Others derive from names used during the middle ages, mostly greetings and descriptive terms and in part originating from Tuscany (in the middle ages there was significant movement between Central Italy and Sicily) such as Bongiorno ("good morning"), Bonfiglio ("good son"), Bonanno ("good year"), Bonsignore, Bonaccorso, Bellomo ("beautiful man").

The surnames deriving from trades include Cavallaro, Finocchiaro, Spadaro and Spataro, Balistreri ("archer"), Vaccaro, all tied to agriculture and fishing, Ferraro, Maniscalco, Cannizzaro ("roof maker using reeds"), Cammareri ("waiter"), Scuderi ("squire"), Impellizzeri ("furrier").

Surnames deriving from nicknames include Occhipinti ("beautiful eyes"), Quattrocchi ("four eyes", indicating a person who was wearing glasses), Mancuso ("left-handed") e Pappalardo (literally "who eats fat" meaning a "glutton").

Amongst the surnames tied to a place of origin (ethnic surname) we have Calabrese, Cosentino, Puglisi, Catalano, Provenzano, Genovese, Toscano and Tarantino.

The last note regarding surnames are those evolved from orphans or waifs (Di Dio, Trovato, D'Ignoto and D'Ignoti, Incognito) and matrimonial ties (relating to female ancestors, mainly popular at Enna) such as Emma, Alessandra e Greca.

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