Fabrizio: Baby Name of the Day

Une représentation de la commedia dell'arte pa...

Luca, Marco, Matteo, Lorenzo … Italian names are stylish nowadays.  So why not this elaborate import?

Thanks to Virginia for suggesting Fabrizio as our Baby Name of the Day.

Some of the most successful romance language imports are tied to a common English language name.  There’s Luca for Luke, and Marco for Mark.  Matteo and Mateo are both doing well, though the familiar Matthew remains the most popular of them all.

There’s also Diego, found on the map and a popular Nickelodeon character, making him recognizable even if you can’t explain his connection to James.  Jersey Shore alum Snooki’s little boy raised the profile of Lorenzo.  Antonio, Leonardo, and Mario are all easily connected to a well-established name, or to a prominent public figure, or both.  Others, like Giovanni and Dante are more obscure.

Fabrizio comes from Fabricius, a Roman family name.  It might be from faber – craftsman – or it might be an older name that we’ve just associated with faber over the years.  It’s the same word that gives us fabric and fabricate.  Fabricius is sometimes translated as smith.  The family became famous not for their craft, but their politics.  Caius Fabricius Luscinus was a successful statesman in the third century BC.  His descendants remained prominent in Rome for at least four more centuries.

Fabrice is the French form, and he’s Fabricio in Spanish.

In Italian, he has a long history of use over the centuries, but here’s my favorite bit: commedia dell’arte evolved in Italian theater in the 1500s.  Most of the actors played stock characters, such as the Innamorati – the Lovers.  The Lovers’ purpose was to be in love with each other, or maybe just themselves.  They were among the few characters who would appear on stage without masks.  It was a job requirement that the Innamorati be young and very, very good looking.  Certain names were always associated with the characters, including Leandro, Silvio, and Ottavio for the men, and Beatrice, Florinda, and Vittoria for the women.

Oh, and yes – Fabrizio was also a favorite name for male Innamorati.  The painting in this post illustrates the art form.

Other notables include:

  • The drummer for The Strokes is Fabrizio Moretti, born to an Italian father and Brazilian mother in Rio de Janeiro, but growing up in New York.
  • Elizabeth Spencer’s 1960 novel The Light in the Piazza tells the story of Margaret and her niece Clara, and Clara’s romance with an Italian she meets while the pair are visiting Florence.  It was adapted for a movie in 1962, with Clara as Margaret’s daughter and even more drama added to the plot – but also a happy ending.  More recently, the movie version of the tale became a Broadway musical.  In every version, the Florentine love interest is Fabrizio.
  • In the 1997 movie The TitanicJack’s BFF is Fabrizio.  He doesn’t make it on to a lifeboat.

It is sometimes heard as a surname, possibly directly from the first name, or maybe from the meaning.

Overall, Fabrizio makes for a romantic possibility.  At four syllables, you might want a short form, but I’m not sure there’s one at the ready – Fab? Zio? Maybe …

But if you’re after a truly daring Italian heritage choice, you could use Fabrizio in his undiluted form, just like Isabella has been given to so many girls.  If boys can answer to Romeo and Sebastian, why not Fabrizio?

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