Show ContentsGaetano History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

A variety of distinguished and notable names have emerged from the beautiful and historical Italian region of Tuscany, including the notable surname Gaetano. During the Middle Ages, as populations grew and travel between regions became more frequent, the people of Tuscany, who were originally known only by a single name, found it necessary to adopt a second name to identify themselves and their families. This process of adopting fixed hereditary surnames in Italy began in the 10th and 11th centuries, but it was not completed until the modern era. The development of Italian hereditary surnames followed general principles and were characterized by derivatives from one's given name. The patronymic surname, which is derived from the father's given name, was one of the most common name types found in the region of Tuscany. This system of name-making was widely used because it linked well with the existing Feudal System and during the Christian era, many people named their children after saints and biblical figures. The surname Gaetano came from the medieval given name Gaetano, which was originally a name from Caieta in Latium. According to tradition, the town was named after the elderly nurse of Aeneas, who died after fleeing with him from the ruins of Troy.

Early Origins of the Gaetano family

The surname Gaetano was first found in Tuscany (Italian: Toscana), a region in central Italy.

Early History of the Gaetano family

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

Gaetano 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 Gaetano include Gaeta, Gaita, De Gaita, Di Gaeta, Gaetani, Di Gaetano, Gaetano and many more.

Early Notables of the Gaetano family (pre 1700)

Prominent among members of the family was Giovanni-Baldo Gaeta, a priest from Pisa who held the position in 1466, 1475, 1488. Also at this time, the Gaeta family of Naples was officially recognized as nobility in the...
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Migration of the Gaetano family

Early records show that people bearing the name Gaetano arrived in North America quite early: Lena Zurba Gaeta, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1899; Adelina Gaeta, aged 2, who arrived at Ellis Island from Contrada in 1899; Alessandro Gaeta, aged 22, who arrived at Ellis Island from Naples in 1897.

Contemporary Notables of the name Gaetano (post 1700) +

  • Salvatore Antonio "Rino" Gaetano (1950-1981), Italian singer-songwriter
  • Gaetano Azzolina (1931-2023), Italian physician and politician, member of the Chamber of Deputies from 1990 to 1992
  • Gaetano Giani Luporini (1936-2022), Italian composer and academic from Lucca
  • Gaetano Iannuzzi (b. 1972), Italian rowing coach and former coxswain who later participated as a coxswain in the paralympic sport
  • Gaetano "Tommy" DeVito (1928-2020), American musician and singer, founding member, vocalist, and lead guitarist of rock band the Four Seasons, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999
  • Gaetano John Matarazzo (b. 2002), American Actor, known for his role in Stranger things
  • Gaetano Gorgoni (d. 2020), Italian politician who served as a Deputy
  • Gaetano Crivelli (1768-1836), famous Italian tenor
  • Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848), Italian composer, a leading composer of the bel canto opera style during the first half of the nineteenth century
  • Gaetano Bardini (1926-2017), Italian tenor on Facebook