Girl Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Francesca

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • Italian
  • Number of syllables:
  • 3
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 424
Simple meaning:
Frenchwoman, free

Characteristics of Francesca

  • Mystical
  • Wise
  • Eccentric
  • Intuitive
  • Imaginative
  • Philosophical
  • Solitary

Etymology & Historical Origin - Francesca

Francesca is the Italian feminine form of Francis. The masculine given name Francis comes from the Late Latinate Franciscus, a vocabulary word denoting ‘French’ or ‘Frenchman.’ This was a nickname given to St. Francis of Assisi (whose baptismal name was actually Giovanni) because of his wealthy father’s business connections in France and his general admiration of the French people. St. Francis had a pleasant, happy childhood, but as a young man, a couple of bad experiences caused him to turn away from the material world and devote himself to the poor and sick. After he was joined by a few disciples, these so-called Franciscans dedicated themselves to humility, poverty and the love for all living creatures. St. Francis (or San Francisco to the Spanish) is often depicted surrounded by animals, particularly birds. It’s no surprise that St. Francis is the patron saint of animals and the environment, but he is also the patron saint of Italy. Thanks to the cult that grew up around St. Francis, the name spread in the 14th century and became even more popular during the Italian Renaissance of the 16th century. This old classic name has given way to several forms in various languages including Francis and Frank (English), François (French), Franz (German), Francisco (Spanish), and Francesco or Franco (Italian). The feminine versions of this name are Frances, Francesca or Françoise and the many pet forms include Franny, Frank, Fran, Fanny, Frankie, Frannie, and Sissy. Francesca is currently a Top 10 most popular female name in Italy.

Popularity of the Name Francesca

The lovely Francesca did not appear on the U.S. popularity graphs until 1953 and for the first 20 years she just sort of languished at low levels of usage. The name’s popularity climbed modestly during the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Her peak popularity came in 1996 at position #353 on the charts. This was likely influenced by one of the bestselling books of the 20th century (50 million copies!) “The Bridges of Madison County” published in 1992 wherein the main character is named Francesca (a movie was made in 1995 starring Meryl Streep as the lovely but lonely Italian Francesca). Since the turn of the 21st century, however, Francesca has been on the decline. This is a head-scratcher. Other Italian beauties have shown improvements on the charts as American parents are gravitating to these flowery, romantic and Latinate elaborations of names. Adrianna, Gianna, Giuliana and Luciana are some Italian female names that come to mind. But Francesca is particularly gorgeous and a wonderful alternative to Frances for Italian-American parents or those who appreciate more ethnic sounding names. It’s also a name to consider for the Francophile parents out there since its root origin means “French”. The Franks (French people) derived their name from Old Germanic meaning “free” – so the name Francesca also denotes a certain free-spiritedness. Francesca is one of our most favorite Italian names – it’s elegant, classy and has a lovely connection to Italian history and Italy’s patron Saint Francis (lover of animals and nature). And although we hate to see such a lovely name truncated or shortened, it’s hard not to like the nicknames Chesca or Frankie for a little girl.
Popularity of the Girl Name Francesca
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Francesca

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Francesca

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Francesca

    Francesca da Rimini (The Divine Comedy) In Dante Alighieri’s epic early 14th century masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, Francesca da Rimini is consigned to the second circle of hell along with her lover, Paolo Malatesta, for their adultery. Francesca is modeled upon a real-life person, the beautiful daughter of an Italian nobleman, who was said to have been tricked by her father into marrying Gianciotto Malatesta for political reasons, when it was his brother, Paolo, whom she loved. She became Paolo’s mistress and her husband, discovering the deceit, killed them both. In his journey through the Inferno, Dante asks his guide if he may speak to the doomed lovers. Francesca tells him her tale, how they were inspired by reading of the love between Lancelot and Guinievere, and in all innocence, began their affair. As Dante himself remarks: “Such tender thoughts and dear longing led them into this agony! ... While the one spirit spoke all this the other wept, and I fainted with pity as if I were dying.” It is early in Dante’s journey through the Inferno, so we may excuse him for his faint heartedness; after all, he is writing his poem about Divine Love and yet he finds himself overwhelmed with sympathy for an all too exemplary display of human love. How exalted a plane it lies upon, then, in spite of the striver’s endeavors to reach a loftier attainment! In all probability, later generations of so-inclined couples were in turn inspired by reading of the love of Francesca and her Paolo. Certainly countless painters, sculptors, writers and musicians were.

    Francesca Johnson (The Bridges of Madison County) Francesca Johnson is the heroine of Robert James Waller’s hugely popular 1993 romantic novel, The Bridges of Madison County, which was made into an equally successful movie of the same name in 1995, starring Meryl Streep. Francesca is a transplanted Italian war bride living a prosaic life as wife and mother on an Iowa farm in 1965, when National Geographic assignment photographer Robert Kincaid enters her life. He is doing a piece on the covered bridges in the county and can use a guide, her husband and children are at the state fair for four days – what do you guess happens? The dutiful Francesca finds herself strongly drawn to the traveler, and Robert is tempted to put down roots for the first time. They suffer through the angst of their conflicting emotions, and Francesca is forced to make a decision that is both heartbreaking and life affirming. While many scorned the novel as mawkish and contrived, its popularity put such criticism on the back burner. When it was translated to film, the luminous Streep made one care deeply about the uplifting power of this unexpected love and its potential power to ruin many lives while saving one.

  • Popular Songs on Francesca

    Popular Songs on Francesca

    Francesca - We cannot find any popular or well-known songs featuring the name Francesca.

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Francesca

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Francesca

    Francesca (Vanita Oelschlager) - Francesca is a little girl literally ahead of her time. She's only a child but she "thinks about being grown all day and all night" and spends too much time inside fantasizing about what she wants to become. Francesca is impatient to become an astronaut, a movie or rock star, a teacher or a cheerleader. However, her parents worry that she doesn't understand that she needs experiences gained as you grow and tell her "don't miss out on everything in the middle. There is something magical about being little." Francesca has a wonderful imagination and is full of life but her parents want to make sure she not only has the chance to achieve her dreams but also to play and have fun with kids her own age. Recommended for ages 5-8.

    Francesca the Football Fairy (Daisy Meadows) - The Sports Fairies' magical items are missing, and now the Fairy Olympics are going all wrong! This is our ninth group of Rainbow Magic fairies; all seven books will be released at once. It's an exciting time in Fairyland. Everyone is getting ready for the Fairy Olympics! But Jack Frost's goblins have stolen the Sports Fairies' magic objects. Now they're threatening to take over the whole competition! Recommended for ages 6-9.

    Francesca Woodman (Corey Keller) - Artists who arrive fully formed at a young age always dazzle, and Francesca Woodman was one of the most gifted and dazzling artist prodigies in recent history. In 1972, the 13-year-old Woodman made a black-and-white photograph of herself sitting at the far end of a sofa in her home in Boulder, Colorado. Her face is obscured by her hair, light radiates from an unseen source behind her out at the viewer through her right hand. This photograph typifies much of what would characterize Woodman's work to come: a semi-obscured female form merging with or flailing against a somewhat bare and often dilapidated interior. In an oeuvre of around 800 photographs made in just nine years, Woodman performed her own body against the textures of wallpaper, door frame, baths and couches, radically extending the Surrealist photography of Man Ray, Hans Bellmer and Claude Cahun and creating a mood and language all her own. In the 30 years since her untimely death (suicide at the age of 22), Woodman has gained a following among successive generations of artists and photographers, a testament to her work's undeniable immediacy and enduring appeal. The New York Times has said: “Even though they are quite small, about 5 by 5 inches, Woodman's haunting photographs have drawn admirers for decades.” And W Magazine said: “Francesca Woodman's black and white portraits have a way of getting under your skin.” Recommended for ages mature young adult and older.

    Saving Francesca (Melina Marchetta) - Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastians, a boys' school that's pretends it's coed by giving the girls their own bathroom. Her only female companions are an ultra-feminist, a rumored slut, and an an impossibly dorky accordion player. The boys are no better, from Thomas who specializes in musical burping to Will, the perpetually frowning, smug moron that Francesca can't seem to stop thinking about. Then there's Francesca's mother, who always thinks she knows what's best for Francesca—until she is suddenly stricken with acute depression, leaving Francesca lost, along, and without an inkling who she really is. Simultaneously humorous, poignant, and impossible to put down, this is the story of a girl who must summon the strength to save her family, her social life and—hardest of all—herself. Recommended for ages 12-15.

  • Famous People Named Francesca

    Famous People Named Francesca

    Famous People Named Francesca - Francesca Annis (British actress); Francesca Battistelli (American musician); Francesca Beard (poet); Francesca da Rimini (medieval figure); Francesca Gagnon (performer for Cirque du Soleil); Francesca Le (American porn star); Francesca Lubiani (Italian tennis player); Francesca Martinez (British comedienne); Francesca Martinez (Italian model); Francesca Simon (children’s book author); Francesca Woodman (American photographer); Piero della Francesca (Italian painter); Francheska Yarbusova (Russian artist)

  • Children of Famous People Named Francesca

    Children of Famous People Named Francesca

    Famous People Who Named Their Daughter Francesca - Clint Eastwood (actor/director); Jason Bateman (actor); Martin Scorsese (director); Zsa Zsa Gabor (actress); Conrad Hilton (businessman); Erik Estrada (actor); Ringo Starr (musician)

Personality of the Girl Name Francesca

The number Seven personality is deeply mystical and highly in tune with their spirituality. They operate on a different wavelength than the average joe. Spending time alone comes easily to Sevens, as it gives them time to contemplate philosophical, religious and spiritual ideas in an effort to find "real truth".  Sevens are wise, but often exude mystery as if they are tapped into something the rest of us don't understand. They love the outdoors and are fed by nature. Sevens are constantly seeking to understand human nature, our place in the universe, and the mystery of life in general. This makes them quite artistic and poetic, but they are also keen observers with high intellect - so they are equally scientific-minded. Sevens are charitable and care deeply about the human condition.

Variations of the Baby Name - Francesca

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