Top 10 most common Sicilian surnames
Sicily, in its surnames, is the reflection of the encounter of languages and cultures, and in every province, there are some that represent specifically that certain location. We have for example Giuffrida, Grasso and Caruso in Catania, then we have Ferrante, Giordano and Marino in Palermo or Rizzo, Romano and Gambino in Trapani.
The origins of Sicilian surnames derive mainly from names (what we call the patronymics) but also from professions, nicknames and places of origin. In the first group, we have various surnames such as Orlando, Di Stefano, Di Salvo, Giuffrida, Di Mauro and Leonardi. Some of our surnames are linked to the Middle Ages, mainly those who are “wishing” you something, such as Bongiorno (Buongiorno – Goodmorning), Bonasera (Buona Sera – good evening), Bonfiglio (Buon Figlio – Good Son), Bonsignore (Buon Signore – Good Lord);
Other surnames, as we said earlier are connected to certain professions: Maniscalco, Cannizzaro, Cavallaro, Finocchiaro, Spadaro and Spataro, Balistreri, Ferraro, Cammareri. some others are referred to nicknames: Quattrocchi (four-eyes, someone with glasses!), Mancuso(as Mancino – left-handed), and Pappalardo (someone quite greedy!). Very commons are the surnames that are connected to a place of origin like Calabrese (from Calabria), Puglisi (from Puglia), Catalano (from Catalunya), Provenzano (from Provence), Genovese (from Genova) and Tarantino (from Taranto), while some others have the exact name of one of the Sicilian provinces.
The majority of the most common Sicilian surnames reflect the various presences that have taken place over the centuries in Sicily: therefore, we recognize surnames of Greek and Byzantine, Latin, Arabic, Norman, Germanic, central-north Italian, Albanian, Spanish, etc..
But now let’s have a look to the 10 most common Sicilian surnames in Sicily!
Dialectal nickname related, probably, to the reddish color of the hair or the parent’s complexion.
Related to the town of Messina.
From the Sicilian dialectal word caruso which means “boy, apprentice”. In Sicily the “carusi” are the young workers of the earth or of the sulfur mines.
Originating from the medieval Italian-Germanic name Lombardo which means “man with a long beard” and the nickname indicating the regional or ethnic origin (of the Lombards).
From the Roman cognomen Marinus or from the adjective marinus (from the sea) , and, according to some academics, from praenomen Marius.