Surnames Calabrese, Calabrò, Calabria, Calabretta, Calabritto, Calabretti, Calabretto, Calabritta

Surnames Calabrese, Calabrò, Calabria, Calabretta, Calabritto, Calabretti, Calabretto, Calabritta

We mentioned in another post that an ethnonymic toponym is a geographical name (such as that of a city, region, mountain, river, etc.) that is related to a specific ethnic group. These geographical names reflect the historical, cultural, or linguistic presence of an ethnic group in that area.

Among the most common Italian surnames that match ethnonymic toponyms, we find Calabrese and others with similar origins.

  • Calabrese: This is a very common surname throughout Central and Southern Italy and derives from the ethnonymic toponym of Calabria.
  • Calabria: This surname appears like “leopard spots” (as E. Rossoni says) throughout Italy and should simply indicate the region of origin of the head of the family, that is, Calabria.
  • Calabro: Quite rare, it is typical of Salento. Calabrò: Found in some places in Sicily, in the area of Reggio Calabria and the area of Cosenza, as well as in Naples, Rome, and Cagliari, it would derive from the Greek form kalabròs (inhabitant of Calabria).
  • Calabretta: This surname is quite widespread, especially in the southern region of Calabria, with the highest concentration in the provinces of Reggio Calabria, Catanzaro, and Vibo Valentia. It is also common in Sicily, especially in the province of Messina.
  • Calabritto: This surname is typical of the municipality of Santa Maria Capua Vetere (Caserta) and could derive from a nickname originating from the Greek expression kala britton (beautiful stone), which probably identified a locality in the area. It could also derive from the toponym Calabritto (Avellino).

Now, Salento or the “Salentine Peninsula,” also known as the “heel of Italy,” is a subregion of Italy that extends through the province of Lecce, also including some towns in Brindisi and others in Taranto. In Roman times, Salento was called Calabria or Messapia, so it is common to find these surnames in that area:

  • Calabretti: This is a surname from the Brindisi area. Calabretto: Found in the Bari area. Calabritta: A rare surname from the Bari area. In some cases and according to other theories, these surnames could also derive from the medieval male name “Calabritus” or “Calaber,” which in turn derived from the Greek Kalabros meaning “good for war.” This name was very common in Southern Italy from the Roman era due to the enormous influence of Greek culture in the area.