Snooki, Carla Bruni, Vito Corleone And Our Favorite Italian Names
It has only been a couple of days since the Snooki pregnancy rumors have taken off, but bloggers and Twitter users alike are already anticipating her future baby's name. Many are guessing as to whether the Jersey Shore star will stick to her Italian roots, or take on something more trendy (e.g., Orange Ivy). But according to E!, Snooki already has her baby names figured out. Back in August 2010 she told reporters that she wants one girl and one boy: "I'm going to name them Isabella and Frankie." Isabella, although not currently a top 10 name in Italy, has been in a US top 10 girls name since 2004, and has been on a steep incline since the 1990s. Frankie could be a nickname for a variety of names, including Francesco, the most popular Italian boys name in 2010, but it is also a popular name itself, ranking No. 794 in the US in 2010 and No. 267 at its peak in the 1950s. Snooki's actual name, Nicole, is now ranked No. 23 in Italy and No. 122 in the US.
With this news, we've decided to take a closer look at our favorite Italian and Italian-American baby names. This month marks the 40th anniversary of the release of one of the most influential movies of all time, The Godfather, an epic crime film depicting the rise of an Italian-American immigrant who moves to New York City to build a vast Mafia empire. The main character, the youngest son of his Italian-born father, is played by Al Pacino, and has the perennially popular name of Michael. Yet there are many interesting names throughout the film trilogy. Vito, the name of the mob boss himself played by Marlon Brando, was a very popular name in the US during the 1910s and 1920s, but fell out of favor by the 1980s. Michael's brother Santino, or "Sonny," has a name that has been rising in US popularity over the past decade. Another less heard of name is that of Michael's sister Constanzia, known as "Connie." This is not as popular as Carmela, which also saw great popularity in the 1920s. A minor role in The Godfather, but now known for Edie Falco's portrayal of Carmela Soprano in the acclaimed HBO series, The Sopranos.
Names of characters in movies or television shows about Italians or Italian-Americans are obviously not representative of Italian name trends, which have, like those in the US, changed over the years. Currently, Francesco, Alessandro, Andrea, Lorenzo and Matteo top the charts for boys names in Italy and Sofia, Giulia, Sara, Martina and Giorgia are at the top for girls. Carla Bruni, the Italian-French singer and current First Lady of France, recently named her daughter Giulia, a name that hasn't caught on in the US, but is reminiscent of both Julia and the rising Giuliana. Sophia is a name that's been rising in the US as well and is evocative of Italian actress Sophia Loren and The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola's daughter, Sofia Coppola.
What are your favorite Italian names? What name do you think Snooki would/will pick for her baby?