Hidden Gems of Italy
When people think of Italy, they tend to think of the biggest, best known places in the country. If you want to visit Italy, but have less interest in the big cities, there are many beautiful options for an exciting, private vacation. Monte Isola, Lombardy Monte Isola is home to the largest lake island in Europe. This area is home to only 2,000 residents. You'll find that there are no cars or traffic anywhere in sight. Here you will be able to experience a relaxing vacation away from the crowds of tourists that swarm to larger Italian cities. Campo Imperatore Campo Imperatore, also known as the "Little Tibet of Europe" is another hidden gem with offerings like hiking trails and meadows. You can take a 25km trek through a beautiful alpine meadow that few visitors to Italy know about. Matera Matera is a UNESCO Heritage Site that is considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the world. This town features 150 churches, ancient cave settlements, and beautiful views.
Italian Health Care
The World Health Organization ranks Italy among the top 10 countries in the world for quality health care. Italy's national health care system is a benefit for many people exploring Italian citizenship. In addition to the public health care system, citizens also have the option to seek private health care. The national health care system is known as Servizio Sanitario Nazionale and covers health care as a right to all Italian citizens, including United States dual citizens and Canadian dual citizens.
More People Speaking Italian Than Ever!
More people than ever are speaking Italian! It is currently one of the top five most studied languages in the world. Worldwide, there are 67 million speakers. Learning Italian has many benefits. Many art historians study Italian so they can better understand the art that they study. Economic growth in Italy is another factor in the growing number of Italian speakers. In future years, it looks like the world will continue to see more and more Italian speakers.
‘Italy destinations: the must -see’, you are officially invited to join a special seminar that is going to take place at the Italian Institute on Friday, October 4th from 11:00 to 12:30. Our speaker will share with you the secret gems, hidden places and authentic destination in Italy for your future trip.
New ‘Italian Citizenship Workshop’ will take place on Tuesday October, 8th 6:00 – 7:30 pm, here at the Italian Institute. If you wish to know more details, practical information, why and how to get Italian citizenship, you are welcome to join us. We will also help you with further information and Q&A session at the end of the seminar.
Leonardo Da Vinci is in Denver
If you love Leonardo da Vinci, but won’t be in Italy any time soon, you can admire some his works here in Denver. Starting March 1st, 70 replica models of sketches and notes will be presented in an exhibition at the Denver Museum of Nature. As you know, his works are considered extremely visionary and include illustrated futuristic images of airplanes, automobile and even submarine models.
If the replicas are not of interest, you can always go see the real things in Italy. In fact,
Leonardo da Vinci has several dedicated museums in Italy that you might want to visit when you are there. One of them is the little village in Tuscany called ‘Vinci’. Il ‘Museo Leonardiano’ http://www.museoleonardiano.it/eng/offers interactive tours and many of Leonardo models have been reconstructed in what would have been roughly the original size planned by the artist.
In addition, the city of Milan offers an exhibition from Leonardo da Vinci, called Leonardo3 http://www.leonardo3.net/it/museo-di-milano/ in Piazza della Scala, ingresso Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. This specific exhibition will remain open until December 31, 2019.
What’s a Prefettura?
A ‘ Prefettura’ is a government territorial office, based in Italy. When you apply for your citizenship, you might end up in one of these offices. But what kind of services they provide? Italians go to ‘prefettura’ for many administrative tasks including:
- European driving license,
- Citizenship application
- License to become a private detective or a security guard
- To obtain an election card to vote or in case to register as a candidate
- Firearms license
- And many more.
The best way to find out about all the things you can do at these locations is to check the Prefettura website of the town you intend to visit. For example, many Prefettura locations may also offer civil records, such as birth, marriage or death certificates.
The word pasta comes from ancient Greek πάστη (paste), it simply meant a ‘mixture’. Indeed, the best pasta is just a mixture between water and flour, and it’s what Italians mostly eat for lunch. A good quality pasta is easy to digest and when cooked will remain ‘Al dente’ longer than cheaper brands. An overcooked pasta, or cooked with not enough water, loses most of the magic. Great news for all pasta lovers; ‘Pasta, Pasta, Pasta’ has just re-launched locally at 187 Fillmore St, Denver, CO 80206 under the direction of the chef Mario Petit! The Italian Institute is already hungry and ready to try it out. Maybe we’ll see you there!
Trentino; more than a Mountain Paradise!
Trentino has a lot to offer! Not only mountains, skiing resorts and winter activities; it also produces exclusive and excellent wines. You can visit vineyards as in Tuscany, but at half the price you might find there.
Image from trentinocb.it
In Trentino there are six restaurants honored by Michelin Stars, in particular three of them are around the Val di Fassa area. This area is also full of amazing and restored medieval castles: ‘Castello del Buonconsiglio’, near Trento, ‘Castello di Avio’, ‘Castello Thun’ (often chosen as movie maker location, due to its fairy-tale look) and ‘Castel Beseno’.
In Trentino you can benefit from many SPA and resort areas, one the most beautiful is close to a small village in ‘Pozza di Fassa’ that is very sophisticated and modern.
You can find a complete list of all opened vineyards, using the free Tourist Information centers, present in all territory of the region.
Best Italian Cities to live in
One of the benefits of being an Italian citizen is to have no restrictions of time to live there! But where should you live once you have obtained your citizenship?
Every year, a very famous Italian newspaper ‘Il Sole 24 Ore’, publishes the list of the most lovable and livable cities. Different parameters are used to rate the cities: employment rate, justice services, quality of public transportation, safety and crime rate, and health care system.
This year there was a big surprise, because Milano won! It earned first place, even though it is one of the biggest and most populated cities in Italy. Unfortunately, Vibo Valentia (Calabria) was last in the classification. (here you can find a complete list http://lab24.ilsole24ore.com/qdv2018/)
Italian Alphabet Evolution
The Italian alphabet is the product of centuries of evolution.
Today, it consists in 21 different letters, and even though you will find J, K, W, X and Y in the dictionary, they aren’t considered part of Italian alphabet.
The way we write in a language and the group of rules we use is called ‘orthography’. The Italian Orthography started in Tuscany during 1200 a.d. For example, the sound ‘k’ is represented with two symbols ‘c’ + ‘h’, exactly as medieval poets used to do in Tuscany nine centuries ago.
The product of this long evolution consists in 9 symbols that actually correspond often to a specific sound: 2 letters: 〈ch〉, 〈ci〉, 〈gh〉, 〈gi〉, 〈gl〉, 〈gn〉, 〈sc〉or 3 letters symbol: 〈gli〉, 〈sci〉. To those who decide to learn the Italian language, those can be the hardest to pronounce, and to remember to execute as a single sound.
Particularly hard was to find a way to represent 〈ch〉, 〈ci〉, 〈gh〉, 〈gi〉, differences. As you can see in text below from Francesco D’assisi we had a 〈k〉symbol that Italian no longer uses:
«Altissimu, onnipotente, bon Signore
To help with your Travel, Citizenship and Italian Language plans or for all things Italy, visit our website regularly: Italianinstitute.com, follow us on Facebook or simply give us a call at (303) 733-4335.
Cheers to Italy!
Health Right as Citizen
The Health care system in Italy is offered to all citizens, as a common right to ensure quality of life to everyone, freedom and dignity. And it’s considered as interest of the community to maintain a healthy State. For example, cancer patients may apply for extra financial support or the service of a nurse sent directly home.
Alexa, Talk to Me in Italian?
It’s Not Too Late to Visit Europe’s Capital of Culture 2019!
2019 will be a great year to visit Matera, Italy. Located in southern Italy, Matera used to be one of Italy’s best kept secrets. In 2019, Matera will be Europe’s well-deserved Capital of Culture and we can’t wait!
Matera is located in Basilicata, a mountainous region in the South. Some of the most famous sites to see include the Sassi di Matera and the Rupestrian churches.
The Sassi di Matera are former cave dwellings back from when Matera was actually considered the shame of Italy! These caves are considered some of the earliest human residences in Italy and are great to explore.
The Rupestrian churches are churches from the twelfth century carved out of rock. The Rupestrian churches are also where Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ was filmed in 2004.
It’s not too late to visit Matera! Get started planning your trip with us on our Travel page!
The Legacy of Ancient Rome!
One great reason to consider Italian Dual Citizenship is to connect with your Italian heritage and gain a deeper understanding of Italy’s rich culture. Italy has often been considered the birthplace of Western civilization, from the Roman Empire to the Catholic Church and beyond.
The Roman Empire had a cultural impact worldwide that can still be seen to this day. Our founding fathers took inspiration from Roman leaders when drafting the U.S. Constitution.
For instance, the concept of being led by elected officials is a Roman idea. Rome also believed in a separation of power through different branches of government—another concept that we also see in the U.S. government system. They also introduced the idea of equality before the law—one social class does not receive preferential treatment over another.
The Oldest Italian Riddle!
Can you solve the world’s oldest Italian riddle? The Veronese Riddle is considered one of the oldest surviving Italian documents, though it is not written in the modern Italian of today. As a Romance language, modern Italian has evolved slowly over time from Latin. The riddle, written by a Christian monk in Verona in Northern Italy, is as follows:
Se pareba boves
alba pratalia araba
albo versorio teneba
negro semen seminaba
An English translation reads:
In front of him (he) led oxen
White fields (he) plowed
A white plow (he) held
A black seed (he) sowed.
What do you think it means? (The answer is at the end of this article, so keep reading!)
While a lot of literature has been written in “classic Latin,” information about what languages people spoke on a daily basis is not readily available. We find the first examples of Italian writing around 1000 a.d., such as the Placiti Cassinesi and the inscription in the Commodilla Catacomb.
The Placiti Cassinesi is a series of four documents written in the mid-900s regarding a real estate dispute between a group of monks and a landowner. The documents proved that the right to the land went to the monasteries. One of the oldest transcriptions found is from the Commodilla Catacomb, reading “Non dicere ille secrita a bboce.” In modern Italian, the inscription would read “Non dire quei segreti (orazioni segrete) ad alta voce” which translated into English means “Do not say those secrets out loud.”
And now the answer you have been waiting for! The answer to the Veronese Riddle is the monk himself. The Riddle talks about a person using oxen to plants seeds in a field. The oxen represent the monks fingers which he uses to write the lines off the riddle down on white paper (white fields), leaving black ink (black seeds) behind.
New Discoveries in Ancient Pompeii!
Researchers are constantly discovering new artifacts and brainstorming new theories about life in the ancient world. Some of the highlights of the past few months in ancient artifacts include a group of skeletons and an inscription that could change history!
One of the major discoveries were five skeletons of two women and three children seeking shelter from the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius that destroyed the city of Pompeii in A.D. 79. The house where the skeletons were found is a major discovery for historians. In another part of the house, an inscription was found which suggests the date of the volcanic eruption was actually two months later than previously thought. Prior to this discovery, researchers had previously thought that the eruption occurred on August 17. Now, they are considering that the eruption occurred some time within the second half of October.
Much of what we know about the destruction of Pompeii (and the nearby, lesser-known town Herculaneum) comes from the Roman poet and magistrate, Pliny the Younger. Pliny the Younger wrote two epistles on the topic of the eruption at the prompting of his historian friend Tacitus. These letters were written 25 years after the eruption and are held in high regard amongst historians for accuracy. Because Pliny’s account came 25 years after the fact, it is possible that the date he described was not correct.
Dreaming of Retirement in Italy?
One of the best reasons to pursue Italian Dual Citizenship is if you’re thinking about retiring in Italy! One beautiful region to consider moving to is Puglia. Bordered by the Adriatic Sea and the Ionian Sea, Puglia has many seafront towns with amazing swimming and beautiful beaches. Compared to some of Italy’s more popular regions, the cost of living in Puglia can be slightly lower than other areas.
Another great option is Basilicata, a smaller region with a population of about six hundred thousand people. A mountainous and wooded region, Basilicata is great for those interested in exploring nature and going on walks. There is a smattering of ancient towns to visit as well. One thing to note is that Basilicata is a region most accessible by car.
You may be surprised to learn that Campania is also on our list of affordable places to retire. The key is to avoid the more famous and touristy places, like Naples or the island of Capri, and look for apartments and houses outside of bustling city centers. Campania has a rich cultural history and plenty of historic sites to visit on day trips. Campania is also the lead producer of Italy’s tomatoes, which means there will be plenty of good food around!
If you are thinking of retiring in Italy and want to acquire dual Italian citizenship, check out the Citizenship page on our website!
Italian Expressions That Will Make You Smile!
Have you ever thought about what expressions sound like to non-native speakers? We have compiled a few funny examples of the Italian equivalents of odd English expressions. Enjoy!
In Italian, affogarsi in un bicchier d'acqua is similar to the English expression “to make a mountain out of a molehill” but literally translated it means “to be drowned in a glass of water.”
Instead of saying something is “batty” or has “bats in the belfry”, Italians would say, avere grilli per la testa or “crickets in the head.”
You can’t be a fish out of water in Italy, but you can be “like a cabbage at tea-time” or come il cavolo a merenda.
You might think that “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” would be an Italian expression but the real phrasing is “Wherever you go, follow the customs you find” or paese che vai usanza che trovi.
Instead of someone being born with a silver spoon in their mouth, in Italy they are born “with their shirt on” or e’ nato con la camicia.
If you were thinking about judging a book by its cover in Italy, think again! The Italian version is non è l'abito che fa il monaco or “the habit does not make the monk”.
Feeling caught between a rock and a hard place? In Italy, you’d say, “eat this soup or jump out the window!” or o mangi questa minestra o salti dalla finestra.
Lastly, instead of counting your chickens before they’ve hatched, the Italian advice is, “Don’t sell his skin before the bear is dead!” or non vendere la pelle dell'orso prima che sia morto.
There's a reason why Bologna is nicknamed La Grassa (The Fat One). This northern region boasts some of Italy's finest dining experiences! A pasta-lover's dream, Bologna is home to tagliatelle—a delicious egg noodle. In addition, one of the most famous Italian sauces, Bolognese, was developed in this region! Other famous dishes include Gramigna con Salsiccia, Tortellini in Brodo, and Lasagne Verdi al Forno, to name just a few.
Only a forty minute train ride from Florence, Bologna is well worth a stop on any tour of Italy!
You may be wondering, “What about spaghetti alla Bolognese?” It might surprise you to learn that spaghetti alla Bolognese is actually not authentic to Bologna at all! Instead, the classic dishes to order are either tagliatelle alla Bolognese or lasagne alla Bolognese. Another famous option is tortellini, made fresh with eggs and flour and then stuffed with a filling!
Thinking of Becoming an Italian Citizen?
One great reason to become a dual citizen is access to health care! All residents of Italy are issued a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or tessera sanitaria which provides free emergency health care services throughout Italy. You can also travel to any country in the European Union stress-free, since most EU countries (as well as Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland) will provide emergency services to any EHIC carrier free of charge as well!
You can also use your tessera sanitaria at pharmacies when picking up over-the-counter medication! Unlike in the U.S. where pharmacies can often be found in grocery stores or larger chain stores, pharmacies in Italy are separate buildings marked with green crosses to symbolize health and wellness.
Italy’s national health plan that provides the tessera sanitaria is called the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale. According to the World Health Organization, Italy is one of the top 10 countries for quality health care services!
If you’re interested in applying for citizenship and getting your own tessera sanitaria, check out the Citizenship tab on our website!
Language Learning and the Brain!
Why learn a second language? Research shows that studying a second language can boost your ability to multi-task and memorize information. Knowing a second language even has long term health benefits, like slowing the onset of dementia!
Why learn Italian specifically? Out of all the Romance languages, Italian shares the most in common with Latin—which makes it great for English speakers, as an estimated 60% of English words have a Latin origin! Italian is also very phonemic, meaning it is written almost exactly the way it sounds. In addition, understanding Italian gives you a foundation to learn other Romance languages, like Spanish, French, Portuguese, or Romanian.
Another benefit of learning a second language is that it actually helps better your understanding of your primary language as well! Focusing on the grammar and structure of another language heightens your awareness of the grammar and structure of your first language—which leads to a stronger communication skills overall.
So what are you waiting for? Check out our language class offerings here.
If you are interested to discover more about this secret Italian gem, you are officially invited to join a special free seminar, that is going to take place at the Italian Institute on Friday evening 24th August, at 6 pm.
Matera is the most populated town in Basilicata, situated on the hills, close to Murgia area and a valley created by a small torrent called ‘Gravina’. It is called the ‘town of the rocks’ ‘La citta’deisassi’, and it was recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It was nominated European capital of culture, and it is one of the most ancient town in the entire south Italy.Some human settlements found in this area date back to the Paleolithic era.
Matera offers different naturalistic attractions, you could easily visit the national natural reserve of San Giulianoand Park of Murgia area. The town offers different cultural events during the whole year, among them: The woman’s fiction festival, dedicated to female writers, the Jazz music festival called ‘Festival Gezziamoci’ and during summer, open-air sculpture contests.
Matera produces a regional wine, called ‘Aglianico’, a local specialty.
Let’s not forget food! Matera offers you amazing bakery shops with big traditional loafs. Among sweets tooth lovers, we find ‘tortaalla ricotta’ a cake based on ricotta cheese, ‘cartellate’ and strazzate’. These last two are more common to be found during Christmas time.
Due to its peculiar scenographic-landscape is often set for many movies, for example Mel Gibson’s ‘The passion’.
Visas for Italy, when do you need it?
If you want to move to Italy; study in Italy; or take a long vacation in Italy (more than 90 days), and you are not an Italian Citizen, you will need a visa.
We can help you choosing the right visa for you and guide you through the whole process of getting it.
If you want to go to Italy to study the Italian language, we collaborate with several schools in Italy. We can help you find the right match whether you want to stay in Italy for more than or less than 90 days. Please visit the section Study Abroad under Language on our website. Passports must be valid at least 3-6 months beyond the date of your return to the United States. Passports must contain at least two blank pages for the visa sticker. Passports must have been issued within the previous 10 years.
Foreigners who visit Italy for business, tourism, or study for up to 90 days must fill out a “dichiarazione di presenza” (declaration of presence). This document will be given to foreigners when they arrive in Italy.
All visitors who stay for more than 90 days must apply for a “permesso di soggiorno” (residency permit) from the local Questura (police department) within 8 days of their arrival in Italy.
How many Italian gelato do you know?
Not all the ice-creams are the same. The secret for the Italian gelato is the amount of air that during the process of making it is incorporated in the cream. Italian gelato has different names, accordingly to the amount of air, ice and ingredients used. Italians do eat ice cream often as a true meal, replacing lunch or dinner with a big bowl of ice cream. Most Italians go out to consume their ice cream, in what we call ‘Gelateria’. A Gelateriais a boutique for whoever is a glutton for ice cream.
But once you come inside it, you might find out that not all of them are called ‘gelato’.
The big difference is between flavor based on fruits and what we call ‘creme’. The Gelato based on cremais prepared with milk, whipped cream, egg white and sugar, slowly simmering with low temperature. Once the cream is thickened, they add all the rest of the ingredients that give the flavor: chocolate, hazelnuts, pistachios, etcetera.
Most of gelato based on frutta flavor does not contain milk. Although, it is always preferable to ask the vendor to double check it in case of intolerance (some flavor like banana or coconut often contain milk). Fruits flavors contain more water in percentage compared to the cream ones. Because of this reason, they contain less calories. The manufacturing process needs more speed and energy in order to keep the consistency smooth and not too icy. In fact, due to the higher amount of water, they tend to melt slower than a cream flavor.
A ‘sorbetto’has a base of sugar and water, it is manufactured slowly without incorporating much air. The consistency is soft but because of the peculiar preparation, it appears more ‘melted’ and less creamy than an ice-cream.
A ‘granita’ has a base of fruit juice or other liquids (for example coffee) and the speed of the manufacturing is slower than gelato. The effect is to break the ice crystals while they are forming in the liquid. For this reason, is often eaten with a spoon in a glass.
A ‘semifreddo’ is prepared with a base of cream, enriched with more whipped cream and then frozen without a second manufacturing process. It is often used as base for pie and cakes.
Secret Bicycle Paths
Immerse yourself in nature, enjoy amazing landscapes and pass through historical places. You would cross small rivers, secret canyons, beautiful lakes, as well as, tiny secret ancient villages.Sights hardly known, yet precious for the eyes, though the access is available only for those willing to pedal.Italy offers you often easy path, accessible for beginners too, but still a great alternative to a common vacation. From North to South, discover here below the most charming paths.
Costiera Amalfitana path
It starts from Sorrento seafront, passes through Naples Gulf till the other side of the peninsula of Sorrento.The intense colors of the bay will catch you, and you can see all the small fishermen houses of Praiano and the beautiful white houses of Amalfi.
This is a calm and easy trail, it starts from the periphery of Spoleto (San Nicolo’), but offers the possibility to visit one of the most important spiritual point of Italy: Assisi. This path is considered easy and often away and protected from the car route. This is ca. 45 km long.
Martesana (Milan) path
It starts right form the heart of Milan downtown and reaches till the ‘Adda’ river. The Naviglio della Martesana was also known as ‘Naviglio Piccolo’. It is part of the system of canals of the Milan area. It is approximately 38 kilometers long.
It starts from Peschiera del Garda and it continues along the Po river for a total of 262 km, passing through Veneto and Emilian Romagna region. It allows to stop in beautiful towns like Ferrara and end up in the gorgeous town of Mantua (Mantova).
‘Ciclovia dei fiori’ (Sanremo) path
It follows an old railway path, not used anymore. You enjoy a spectacular view with very few effort: only 25 km long. They are planning to extend it up to 60 km very soon.
Valtellina (Lake Como) path
This cycling route is in the Lombardy area. A beautiful path that runs alongside the ‘Adda’ river, it starts from the small town of Tirano and ends in Como lake. It is currently 80 km long.
Francigena (Rome) path
It is still used today from many pilgrims, who decide to arrive in Rome on two wheels instead of walking.It is quite a challenge if you decide to take it all, almost 1800 km. You could theoretically go through the entire Tuscany till Rome with it.
Merse Valley (Siena) path
A perfect circle around the hills close to Siena, arrives up to the Elsa valley, passing through the beautiful Maremma and Tuscan countryside. It is almost 40 km long.
Sculpture park (Syracuse) path
Short (only 6km) but lovable bike path, it runs close to an old railway road that used to link the city of Syracuse to Catania. The landscape is protected by the UNESCO organization. The Mediterranean waters in the background will make it even more enjoyable.
Pusteria Valley (Dolomites) path
It can be more challenging because of the mountains all around you, but this path, in the Alto Adige region, deserve a try. Since it is more than 105 km long, you might decide to take more than one stop, and sleep in one of the gorgeous small villages you will encounter during your pedal adventure.
How to re-acquire Italian Citizenship
Even if you don’t own it anymore, Italian law allows you, in specific cases, to gain back your citizenship, read below to find out more about it.
RE-ACQUISITION OF ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP
According to Italian Law, the acquisition of a foreign citizenship by an Italian citizen after August 15, 1992 does not incur the loss of his/her Italian citizenship. On the other side, individuals born in Italy who became U.S. (or any other country) citizens by naturalization before August 16th, 1992, automatically lost their Italian Citizenship but they may reacquire it by establishing legal residency in Italy.
LEARN IF YOU QUALIFY:
Give us a call to see if you qualify. Take advantage of our 15 minutes free consultation or write us an email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will contact you to tell you if you qualify or if we need more information. Please leave your email address and/or a phone number where we can reach you. (The Questionnaire serves only as a pre-qualifying tool. The results are intended only to reflect potential eligibility for Italian citizenship, but don't guarantee eligibility).
Find out more about your Italian last name
The diffusion of Italian last name is mostly regional. This means that, if you have got an Italian last name, you could guess from which region your ancestor was from. Italian last names are more than 350.000, some of them are orthographical variants of the same word. If you are curious, you could visit the website http://www.mappadeicognomi.it and find out the regional diffusion of your last name. The use of a last name, after the first name, is relatively new. In 1563, the Catholic Church decided that was mandatory for a newborn to own both a first and a second name, and they all had to be registered in an official document, kept by the local parish. This change happened because the entire European population was growing in numbers. Before 1563, last names were mostly used by noble men and passed through father to son as remark of distinction.
Here below the top 10 of the most common Italian last name inside Italy territory:
1. Rossi 82 882
2. Russo 56 105
3. Ferrari 48 050
4. Esposito 38 397
5. Bianchi 34 685
6. Colombo 30 396
7. Romano 30 371
8. Ricci 26 912
9. Gallo 23 793
10. Greco 23 723
Most of the Italian last name are toponyms, they come from names of villages, towns, or regions, where the person was originally born. Another origin for last name was the name of the father. Therefore, many Italian last names start with “Di” or “De” and then a first name. For example, “Di Paolo” or “Di Giovanni”. This has the meaning of “the son of Paolo” or “the son of Giovanni”. Sometimes even a nickname could become a last name. For example, in the list above “Russo” or “Rossi” came from the fact that one of the ancestors probably had red hair and this was considered a peculiar feature. Eventually, a nickname became a last name.