Almost 9,000 newborn baby boys were christened Francesco in 2015, according to national statistics agency Istat, making the name the most popular in Italy for the third year in a row. This is likely to have a lot to do with Pope Francis effect, who chose the Latin version of the name when he was elected to the papacy in March 2013.
A religious theme was clear in the top ten most popular names for boys, which included Gabriele as well as four of the names of Jesus's Apostles (Mattia, Andrea, Matteo and Tommaso).
The name Andrea, which placed sixth on the ranking for boys' names may come as a surprise to some foreigners, as it's a name usually reserved for girls in Anglo countries. In fact, when a couple in Florence named their daughter Andrea, they a court changed the baby's name to Giulia.
The couple had to fight their case all the way to Italy's supreme court, which eventually delivered a landmark ruling that 'Andrea' could not be deemed a “disgraceful or ridiculous” name for a girl.
When it came to girls' names, Sofia remained the most popular for the second year running, accounting for more than three percent of all baby girls, while the name Aurora climbed one spot to take second place.
Children born to foreign parents in Italy were most likely to be named Adam or Sara, and Istat noted an increase in foreign parents giving their children traditional Italian names, particularly among Italy's growing Chinese community.
The agency has also provided an interactive tool for visitors to check the historical popularity of their own name.
Top baby names for boys
Top baby names for girls