I know some people who use it as a first name and others who use it as a last name. There is also a place in Italy called Castell'Alfero which I understand to mean "The castle of Alfero".

  • It is difficult to say whether 'Castell'Alfero' means 'The castle of Alfero', but, FWIW, I think 'Alfero' means nothing but 'Alfero', which is not even a name. Are you sure people you refer to use 'Alfero' as first name? Even if I cannot exclude it exists as surname, I never heard anyone is called 'Alfero', may be 'Alfredo', if any. Dec 17, 2013 at 21:05
  • I am 100% sure there is a person with that name. I know him personally. Unfortunately, they don't know either. Dec 17, 2013 at 21:16
  • I didn't exclude 'Alfero' may be a surname, nor I excluded that people can be named using invented names, but, anyway, 'Alfero' is not an Italian proper noun. In fact to be sure a name is strictly Italian you have to verify whether it is a name of a Saint of the Catholic Church. Dec 17, 2013 at 21:33
  • It seems that the Latin name was Castrum Alferi; why it's not clear, as with other toponyms.
    – egreg
    Dec 17, 2013 at 22:03

2 Answers 2


It is a variant form of Alfiero, a name of Germanic origin deriving from athala, "nobility", and faraz, "who guides"; so, all in all, something like “noble guide”. See https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfiero


I'd like to suggest "Alfiere" as a possible derivation for such name. As of the above claim of Germanic origin, according to "Wiktionary" (source: http://it.wiktionary.org/wiki/alfiere), the word comes from the Spanish alférez, which in turns comes from the Arabic al-faris (knight).

  • 2
    If I understand correctly, they are two (or more) different words that happen to result in Italian into almost equal ones (and perhaps they influenced each other along the way, as often happens). The above “or more” refers to the fact that the alfiere as one of the pieces of chess (corresponding in English to the bishop), derives from another Arabic word, al-fil (elephant).
    – DaG
    Dec 18, 2013 at 17:35
  • 1
    @DaG: in effect the Treccani dictionary says that the original word for the chess piece was alfino, which derives from al-fil. This was then altered into alfiere.
    – nico
    Dec 18, 2013 at 20:05
  • Thanks so much @nico. So, which is the answer then? Or you all saying the same thing? Dec 19, 2013 at 21:01

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