Meaning: “Loved, healthy.”
Nicknames: Ama, Amy, Matti, Taz, Sana
Detail: A given name in early 14th century Italy.
Meaning: “One from Ephesus.”
Pronunciation: (eh-FEE-zee-oh); (eh-FEE-zhoh)
Nicknames: Fiso, Efo
Detail: From the Latin byname Ephesius, which originally belonged to a person who was from the city of Ephesus, in Ionia.
This was the name of a saint martyred on Sardinia in the 4th century
Meaning: “Order, universe.”
Nicknames: Cos, Cosi, Coso, Coco, Mo
Detail: From the Greek name kosmos meaning “order, universe”.
Saint Cosmas was martyred with his twin brother Damian in the 4th century. They are the patron saints of physicians.
Meaning: “Man from Laurentum.”
Nicknames: Lozo, Enzo, Renzo, Lenzo
Detail: Italian and Spanish form of Laurentius, which meant “from Laurentum”, its name probably deriving from Latin laurus “laurel”.
Saint Laurence was a 3rd-century deacon and martyr from Rome.
In the Middle Ages this name was common in England (in a variety of spellings), partly because of a second saint by this name, a 7th-century archbishop of Canterbury.
Origin: English / Spanish / Germanic
Meaning: “A man, barberry tree, fortified hill.”
Nicknames: Ar, Arl, Lo
Detail: There are several origins of the name:
An Italian variant of the German Charles meaning “man”
The Spanish word for the “barberry tree”
An Old English variant of Harlow, derived from the Anglo-Saxon words here and hlaw meaning “army hill”
Meaning: “Mighty in battle.”
Nicknames: Maffy, Mafa
Detail: Mafalda is a Spanish and Italian variant form of Matilda, from the Germanic maht “strength” and hild “battle”.
In Rowling’s Harry Potter Mafalda Hopkirk is an improper Use of Magic Office employee at the Ministry of Magic.
Meaning: “From France.”
Nicknames: Cesca, Cesi, Chess, Frankie
Detail: Francesca (and Paolo) were historical contemporaries of Dante Alighieri.
Francesca was blatantly tricked into marrying Gianciotto, who was disfigured and uncouth, when the handsome and elegant Paolo (Gianciotto’s brother) was sent in his brother’s place to settle the nuptial contract. Angered at finding herself wed the following day to Gianciotto, Francesca made no attempt to restrain her affections for Paolo and the two in fact soon became lovers. Informed of this liaison, Gianciotto one day caught them together in Francesca’s bedroom (unaware that Paolo got stuck in his attempt to escape down a ladder, she let Gianciotto in the room); when Gianciotto lunged at Paolo with a sword, Francesca stepped between the two men and was killed instead, much to the dismay of her husband, who then promptly finished off Paolo as well.
Nicknames: Ravi, Raven, Venna, Enna
Detail: Inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven.
In Dante’s Inferno, Guido da Polenta is lord of Ravenna.
Meaning: “Affectionate; benevolent.”
Pronunciation: (ben-VOH-lee-oh); (ben-VOL-yo)
Nicknames: Ben, Volo
Detail: In Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” Benvolio is Romeo’s cousin and close friend
Meaning: (Welsh) “Beautiful; fair lady.” Or (Germanic) “Ice princess.”
Origin: The origin of Isolde is somewhat disputed. It might derive from the Welsh word “esyllt,” meaning “beautiful”; it might also derive from the Germanic words for “ice” and “to rule.”
Detail: In Arthurian legend, this is the name a tragic princess who was the lover of Tristan.