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Surnames and Their Origins – July 2023

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In this issue, we extend our list of Italian surnames that begin with the letter S.

SCARPATO – This surname derives from the Italian word “scarpa,” meaning shoe. It started as a nickname for a shoemaker. It appears in the bureau of statistics of 17 of Italy’s 20 regions. It is most prevalent in Campania and least found in Basilicata. The three regions where it does not show up are Valle d’Aosta, Umbria and Puglia. Variations: SCARPONE, SCARPITTI, SCARPA.

SCARSELLI – This surname derives from the Italian word “scarsella,” meaning a bag for documents, letters, money and objects. It appears in the bureau of statistics of 16 of Italy’s 20 regions. The four regions where it does not show up are Valle d’Aosta, Basilicata, Sardinia and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.:   Variations: SCARCELLO, SCARCIELLO, SCARCELLA, SCARZELLO, SCARZELLA, SCARZELLI, SCARSELLA, SCARSELLO.

SCATENA – This surname is probably from the verb “scatenare,” meaning to unleash, to cause. It appears in the bureau of statistics of 16 of Italy’s 20 regions. The four regions where it does not show up are Sicily, Calabria, Campania and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

SCHIAVONE – This surname is probably from the Italian word “Schiavo,” meaning slave. It appears in the bureau of statistics in all of Italy’s 20 regions. It is most prevalent in Puglia and least found in Valle d’Aosta.

SCHIAZZA – This surname derives from the Italian word “chiazza,” meaning stain, blotch. In different dialects the word “schiazza” takes different meanings: to throw, a square, a stone used to wash the clothes in the river. It appears in the bureau of statistics in only 11 of Italy’s 20 regions, mostly registered in Abruzzo.

SCIARRA – This surname derives from the Sicilian word “sciarra,” meaning to quarrel, used as a nickname, It’s actual origin is from the Arabic word “sharia” meaning “on the right path.” It appears in the bureau of statistics of 19 of Italy’s 20 regions. It is most prevalent in Campania and least found in Trentino Alto-Adige. It is not registered at all in Valle d’Aosta. Variations: SCIARINO, SCIARRONE, SCIARRATTA, SCIARRETTA.

SCIMIE – This surname derives from the Italian word “scimmia,” meaning monkey. It likely started as a nickname. It appears in the bureau of statistics in only 12 of Italy’s 20 regions, mostly registered in Abruzzo.  

SCIME – This surname derives from the Arabic word “sham’s” meaning sun. It appears in the bureau of statistics in only 11 of Italy’s 20 regions. While it is sparse in 10 of the regions where it is present, the 11th region where it is present and extensively widespread is Sicily. This should be of no surprise, since Sicily was occupied by a Muslim conquest which began in June 827 and lasted until 902.

SCIPIONI – This surname derives from the Latin family name “Scipio, Scipionis.” The best-known Roman with this family name was Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus. Born around 236 B.C., he was a Roman general and statesman, most notable as one of the main architects of Rome’s victory against Carthage in the Second Punic War. Often regarded as one of the greatest military commanders and strategists of all time, his greatest military achievement was the defeat of Hannibal at the Battle of Zama in 202 B.C. This victory in Africa earned him the epithet Africanus, literally meaning “the African,” but meant to be understood as a conqueror of Africa. The surname is registered in all 20 regions. For obvious reasons, it is most prevalent in Lazio. Variations: SCIPIONE.

You can research your surname on these two websites:
surnames.behindthename.com/names/usage/italian/
cognomix.it/mappe-dei-cognomi-italiani

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