Show ContentsFontana History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Fontana family can trace its noble origins to the Italian region of Tuscany. Although people were originally known only by a single name, it became necessary for people to adapt a second name to identify themselves as populations grew and travel became more frequent. The process of adopting fixed hereditary surnames was not complete until the modern era, but the use of hereditary family names in Italy began in the 10th and 11th centuries. Italian hereditary surnames were developed according to fairly general principles and they are characterized by a profusion of derivatives coined from given names. Although the most traditional type of family name found in the region of Tuscany is the patronymic surname, which is derived from the father's given name, local surnames are also found. Local names, which are the least frequent of the major types of surnames found in Italy, are derived from a place-name where the original bearer once resided or held land. Often Italian local surnames bore the prefix "di," which signifies emigration from one place to another, but does not necessarily denote nobility. The Fontana family lived in Bologna. Earliest records of this lineage date back to the year 483, when Egidio Fontana helped with the constitution of the new Venetian Republic.

Early Origins of the Fontana family

The surname Fontana was first found in Bolgna (Latin: Bononia), the largest city and the capital of Emilia-Romagna Region where the surname is derived from the Late Latin word "fontana," meaning "spring" or "well." It is quite likely that the first bearer of this name lived near such a place.

Early History of the Fontana family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fontana research. More information is included under the topic Early Fontana History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fontana Spelling Variations

In comparison with other European surnames, Italian surnames have a surprising number of forms. They reflect the regional variations and the many dialects of the Italian language, each with its own distinctive features. For example, in Northern Italy the typical Italian surname suffix is "i", whereas in Southern Italy it is "o". Additionally, spelling changes frequently occurred because medieval scribes and church officials often spelled names as they sounded rather than according to any specific spelling rules. The spelling variations in the name Fontana include Fontana, Fontani, Fontanella, Fontanelli, Fontanino, Fontanini, Fontanin, Fontanotti, Fontanot, Fontanazzi, Fontanari and many more.

Early Notables of the Fontana family (pre 1700)

Prominent among members of the family was Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614), an Italian painter, regarded as the first woman artist; Giovanni Battista Fontana (1524-1587), an Italian painter and engraver; Prospero Fontana, a painter in Bologna around 1520 who worked much of his life in Rome; Count Alfonso Fontana, a 16th century composer of madrigals at the court of Modena and transferred to work in Rome in 1605; Giovanni Battista Fontana (born 1630), a violinist and a composer of violin sonatas from Brescia; and Carlo Fontana...
Another 83 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fontana Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fontana Ranking

In the United States, the name Fontana is the 6,920th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [1] However, in France, the name Fontana is ranked the 2,622nd most popular surname with an estimated 2,000 - 2,500 people with that name. [2]

United States Fontana migration to the United States +

An examination into the immigration and passenger lists has discovered a number of people bearing the name Fontana:

Fontana Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Julian Fontana, aged 43, who arrived in Texas in 1828 [3]
  • Lasane Fontana, aged 4, who arrived in Key West, Fla in 1838 [3]
  • R D Fontana, aged 40, who landed in Key West, Fla in 1840 [3]
  • Dominique Fontana, aged 36, who landed in Missouri in 1844 [3]
  • T Fontana, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Fontana Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Alfred Fontana, aged 26, who immigrated to the United States from Aclicart, Italy, in 1908
  • Agnese Fontana, aged 21, who landed in America from Lucca, Italy, in 1912
  • Alberto Fontana, aged 8, who settled in America from Modena, Italy, in 1913
  • Alfonso Fontana, aged 12, who settled in America from Campobello, Italy, in 1913
  • Alessandro Fontana, aged 18, who immigrated to the United States from Veroli, Italy, in 1913
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Fontana (post 1700) +

  • Dorothy Catherine "D.C." Fontana (1939-2019), American television script writer and story editor, best known for her work on the original Star Trek franchise and several Western television series
  • Dominic Joseph Fontana (1931-2018), American musician best known as the drummer for Elvis Presley for 14 years, inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 2009
  • Tom Fontana (b. 1951), American three-time Primetime Emmy Award winning writer and producer
  • D C Fontana, American science fiction writer
  • Carl Fontana (1928-2003), American jazz trombonist
  • Paul J. Fontana, American fighter pilot and flying ace in the U.S. Marine Corps, during World War II, credited with 5 aerial victories
  • Jimmy Fontana (1934-2013), Italian actor, composer and singer-songwriter, best known for his song "Che sarà" that was also performed by José Feliciano and Ricchi e Poveri
  • Alberto Fontana (b. 1967), retired Italian football goalkeeper
  • Lucio Fontana (1899-1968), Argentine-born, Italian painter and sculptor, the founder of Spatialism
  • Felice Fontana (1730-1805), Italian scientist
  • ... (Another 5 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  3. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8) on Facebook