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The Renaissance lasted for three long centuries between the 14th and 17th centuries. It was a time of cultural, artistic, political, and economic rebirth following the middle ages.
The Renaissance changed the world in almost every way you can imagine and it was a time of intellectual discipline. Italy was the birthplace of the Renaissance and that is apparent in the girl’s names of this time.
So if you are thinking about exploring the Renaissance period for the perfect name for your little girl, be prepared for some mesmerizingly beautiful Italian names, many of which are still extremely popular to this day.
Check out our favorite Renaissance girl’s names and see if anything sparks your imagination.
Renaissance Baby Names For Girls
Agnella – Agnella is of Greek origin and means pure, vaginal. It is also considered a variation of Agnes.
Agnese – Agnese del Maino was a noblewoman and the mistress of Filippo Maria Visconti who was the last legitimate Duke of Milan. Agnese was the mother of Bianca Maria Visconti who despite her illegitimacy succeeded to the title of Duchess of Milan in 1450. Agnese is a beautiful name that is a form of Agnes in both Italian and Spanish and means pure.
Alice – The most famous bearer of the name has to be the fictional character from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. The name is of English origin and means from the nobility.
Anastasia – Anastasia is a girl’s name of Greek origin and means resurrection. The most famous bearer of the name is the lost daughter of the last Czar of Russia, who supposedly survived the mass murder of her entire family. Her story has been retold in both movies and books.
Bandecca – Bandecca is a rarely used name of Italian origin.
Bartola – The meaning of Bartola is she who tills the soil and is of Italian origin.
Bella – Bella is a short form of Isabella, a form of Elizabeth. The name has Italian origins and means beautiful, God is my oath. The name featured in a popular song from the Renaissance times “O Rosa Bella.” The song describes courtly love, a formalized secret passion between aristocrats that was both erotic and spiritual.
Bice – This is a diminutive form of Beatrice and has Italian origins. Although Beatrice has the lovely Italian pronunciation bay-uh-TREE-chay, Bice is pronounced as BEE-chay and could lead to some problems in the playground. Bice means she who brings happiness.
Bona – The name means Good and is of Italian origin. The name means good.
Catalina – Catalina is a Spanish name that means pure. Santa Catalina of Siena was one of the two patron saints of Italy and was also a respected spiritual writer of the church. Catalina de Aragon y Castilla is the original Spanish name of the first wife of Henry VIII.
Caterina – Caterina is a Florentine name with Greek origins. It is the Slavic form of Katherine and means pure. Caterina or Catharina van Hemessen was a Flemish renaissance painter. Her works included small scale female portraits that were completed between the 1540s and 1550s. She is the first female Flemish painter for whom there is actually verifiable work.
Chola – Chola is a variation of Zoila and is of Greek origin. Zoila is the feminine version of Zoilo.
Cicilia – The English variation of Cecilia and means blind. Cicilia was used as an ancient Roman family name and after the death of St.Cecilia, the name grew in popularity as a given name for girls.
Ciosa – Ciosa was used in Florence from the 13th century. As an Italian name, it would be pronounced chee-OH-sa.
Ciuta – This name was increasingly popular in modern-day Lombardy in the province of Sondrio. Ciuta means little sheep and was given to a now-extinct breed of sheep that were local to the region. The name was a popular one in the Italian Renaissance but it is unheard of in modern Italy.
Cristina – An Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian variation of Christina. The name means Christ bearer.
Dea – This is a super simple name with Latin origins. Dea actually means goddess and shares its meaning with the word deity.
Diana – A name of Latin origin and means divine. Diana is also the Latin name of the Roman goddess associated with the moon, virginity, and hunting. She is also the protector of wild animals, she is represented in myth as beautiful and chaste.
Dolce – Dolce is the Italian word for sweet and is derived from the Latin word dulcis also meaning sweet. The name is a rare find in Italy and is more often used as a surname. The most famous example of this name is Domenico Dolce, the co-founder of the fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana. Although since its launch in 1985, the brand has inspired quite a few baby girls to be named Dolce.
Druda – The feminine form of the name Druda means mistress and is derived from the German language.
Elizabeth – Elizabeth is a name with both biblical and Hebrew origins. In the Bible, Elizabeth was the mother of John the Baptist. Elisheva is the Hebrew variation and Elisabet is the Greek. The name means God is my oath and has royal bearers such as Queen Elizabeth I and II
Ellen – Form of the name Helen and is of Greek origin. The name means light. Ellen was more common in medieval England, until after the Renaissance when Helen overtook it.
Emma – A name of German origin and means universal. Emma originated as a diminutive for Germanic names beginning with ermen root. The name is a very royal name that has been well used throughout the centuries – Queen Emma married King Ethelred the Unready in 1002. Emma is historically linked with Lady Hamilton the mistress of Lord Nelson and muse of painter George Romney.
Fiametta – A name of Italian origin and means little fiery one. Fiametta comes from the Italian word for flame. It was the pseudonym of Boccaccio’s beloved in The Decameron ( a famous pre-Raphaelite painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti). Fiametta was also the famous courtesan and lover of Cesar Borgia.
Filippa – Feminine form of the name Philip, Greek in origin and means lover of horses.
Fiora – Fiora is of Italian origin and means flower. It is the feminine version of the Italian word for flower – Fiore. The name was considered a unisex name until the 17th century when the name evolved into Fiorello for boys and Fiorella for women.
Flora – Flora is of Scottish, Latin origin and means flower. It is also the name of the Roman goddess of flowers and spring, who enjoyed eternal youth. Flora has been a long-standing favorite in Scotland as it was the name of the heroine who helped Bonnie Prince Charlie make his way to France.
Francesca – Parents of the Renaissance were inspired to give their daughters the feminine version of Francis. It was in honor of Saint Francis Assisi, who was originally named Giovanna. He was given the nickname Francis by his father who loved France. Francesca is a lighter more feminine choice than Frances and is increasing in popularity.
Gemma – Gemma was the name of Dante’s wife and was also the name of a nineteenth-century saint. The name is of Italian origin and means precious stone. The name has been widely used in the UK since it shot up the charts in the 1980s but is only now beginning to be used in the US.
Gianetta – Gianetta shares the same roots as John and means God is gracious. It is also the preferred female form of the name Giovanni. It is a popular name in Italy but is not heard that often in the US.
Ginevra – This name offers a great alternative to Jennifer. It is of Italian origin and means white shadow, white wave. It is also the Italian form of Genevieve. Ginevra de’Benci was a 15th-century aristocrat who was the subject of a portrait by Leonardo da Vinci. The name is rarely used in the US.
Giovanna – The Italian feminine variation of Giovanni and means God is gracious. This is one of the Italian names that has found favor with American parents regardless of whether they have Italian roots.
Giuliana – Giuliana is of Italian origin and means youthful. It is also the Italian form of Juliana but the use of Gi rather than a J seems to make the name far more appealing to parents to be.
Grace – Grace is of Latin origin and is derived from gratia the Latin word for grace. It existed as Gracia in the Middle Ages but was not especially popular until the puritans adopted it along with other Christian attribute names in the sixteenth century.
Isabetta – This beautiful Italian name became increasingly popular during the Renaissance period. The name is the Italian version of Elizabeth which means my god is an oath or my god is abundance.
Jacoba – Jacoba means the feminine form of Jacob and is of Hebrew origin. It is a rare and unusual name but it may be able to lift its rankings as an alternative to the increasingly popular male version Jacob.
Joanna – A name of Latin origin meaning God is gracious. Joanna is derived from the Greek name Ioanna, which came from the Hebrew name Yohannah.
Lagia – Lagia is not a very common name and is predominantly used in Italy. Its meaning is unknown.
Lapa – With both Portuguese and Galician origins the name is a habitual name for someone from any of the numerous places called Lapa.
Lavinia – The name’s origins are in Roman mythology as it was the name of the daughter of King Latinus. The name really rose in popularity in the 15th century with the emergence of the first female artist of the era – Lavinia Fontana.
Lena – Lena is of English origin and is a pet form of Helena, but it has long been used as an independent name. The name is also considered to have Hebrew origin and means woman of Magdala.
Letta – The Italian form of the Latin name Latitia which means joy. It was also the name of the Roman goddess of joy, celebration, and festivity. The name is more commonly seen as a surname in modern Italy.
Lippa – A name of Old Greek, Romanian origin and means a lover of horses or friend of horses. It is also considered a pet name for the name Philippa. It is a very unusual name for a little girl and is not ranked in the top 1000 names.
Lisa – Lisa is of Hebrew and English origin and means pledged to God. It is considered a diminutive form of Elisabeth.
Lorenza – The name Lorenza means laurel and is of Italian origin. It also comes from the Roman Laurentius, which meant a person from Laurentum, a city in ancient Italy.
Lucia – Lucia is a girl’s name of both Spanish and Italian origin and means light. The name is derived from the Latin word lux meaning light. It is also considered to be the feminine form of Lucius and the Latinate spelling of Lucy. The name has a variety of references from Santa Lucia a fourth-century martyr who was revered in the Middle ages and also went on to have a Caribbean island named after her. There is also the tragic opera Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti.
Lucrezia – Lucrezia is of Latin origin and is the female form of Lucretius but its meaning is unknown.
Madalena – Madalena was taken from Mary Magdalene by Portuguese parents who dropped the ‘g’ to make it their own. the name has some famous namesakes as it belonged to the first female musician to have her compositions published in the history of Western music. But she did add an extra ‘d’ – Maddalena Casulana.
Margherita – A form of Margaret and of Spanish origin meaning pearl. It is of course also the name of a sweet alcoholic drink.
Maria – A name of Aramaic, Latin origin meaning drop of the sea, bitter or beloved. Maria is derived from the Hebrew name Maryam/Mariam. The original meaning of these names is unclear but some theories include a drop of the sea, bitter, and beloved.
Marsina – A name of Italian origin and unknown meaning.
Mathilda – The name Mathilda means battle might and is of German origin.
Mea – Mea means mine and is of Italian origin. It is considered a variation of Mia.
Mella – Mella shares its roots with the name Melanie that has Greek origin and means black or dark. Mella is also the name of an Italian river of Lombardy and features frequently in the municipalities of Italy.
Minerva – Another name that has its origins in Roman mythology and is derived from the Latin word for intellect. The name was brought back to the attention of the general population when Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli with his canvas of Minerva and the Centaur.
Nanna – Nanna is of Scandanavian origin and means daring. The name comes from Norse mythology and is among the top 30 names in contemporary Denmark.
Nencia – This super sweet name was used in a poem by Cosimo de Medici’s grandson Lorenzo, called Nencia de Barberino.
Nezetta – This forgotten Italian name was popular in Florence during the Renaissance period. It is an Italian form of Nazarene that means someone from Nazareth. The name is rarely used anywhere in the world today but could make a truly unique name for the right little girl.
Novella – Novella is of Latin origin and means new. The name is derived from the Latin word novellus, meaning new or young. In literature, novella is a term for a short novel.
Olympia – The name means Mountain of the Gods and is of Greek origin. Olympia would make a great alternative to some of the more overused names beginning with ‘O’ such as Olivia.
Pasque – Pasque is an old Cornish family name formed from the medieval given name Pask. Pask is thought to be derived from the Middle English word paske which means Easter.
Pia – Pia is of Latin origin meaning from Mount Olympus. Pia is heard in both European and Hindi languages.
Piera – Piera is the Italian form of Petra and means rock. Piera de’ Medici was one of the most powerful abbesses in Renaissance Florence. Piera used her ties to the city’s ruling family to benefit her Vallombrosan community of S. Verdiana.
Paula – Paula is of Portuguese origin and means small. It is also believed to have Latin origins and mean humble.
Rigarda – Rigarda is the Italian form of the German name Ricarda which means brave ruler. The name is not even used in Italy these days so that shows how rare the name is.
Salvaza – Salvaza is of Italian origin and inspires dedication, aspiration, and fervor.
Sandra – A name of English origin and means defender of the people. It was originally a short form of Alexandra. It is also considered a diminutive form of Alessandra, Italian from Greek.
Santa – Santa is of Spanish and Italian origin meaning saint. It may be very difficult for today’s parents to separate the Italian girl’s name from the association with Mr Claus himself.
Serena – Serena is a name that has been used since Roman times. The name is of Latin origin and means tranquil, serene, it is still widely used all over the world today. During the Renaissance period, a stone called pietra serena was used to construct many of the buildings in Florence that can still be seen today.
Simona – The name means to be heard and is of Spanish origin. It is a variation of Simone.
Stella – Stella is a name of Latin origin and means star. Many believe that the name was invented by Sir Philip Sidney for his poem Astrophel and Stella but there is evidence that shows the name had been used over 200 years before the poem was even written.
Taddea – Taddea Malaspina was an Italian Marchesa. She was the mistress of Alessandro de’ Medici, Duke of Florence from the early 1530s to around 1537 and was likely the mother of at least two of his children.
Tessa – A diminutive form of Theresa and is of Greek origin. It means to reap, to gather. Tessa is far more popular than either Theresa or the shorter form of Tess.
Tita – Considered a diminutive form of Martita et al of English origin and means giant, great one.
Tomasia – Tomasia was a popular name in the Renaissance period but it has all but been forgotten in modern times. It is a feminine form of the Greek name Thomas and means twin.
Veronica – During the Renaissance, Veronica was one of the most popular names in Venice. The name comes from the Latin word for truth and is of Greek origin. The name can also be derived from the Greek phrase ‘Bere nike’ which means bringing victory.
The Final Thought
Our list contains some beautiful Renaissance names that would not be too out of place in today’s classrooms. Maybe we have inspired you to think outside the box when it comes to looking for the perfect name for your little girl.