As a nation state, Italy has emerged only in 1871. Until then the country was politically divided into a large number of independant cities, provinces and islands. The currently available evidences point out to a dominant Etruscan, Greek and Roman cultural influence on today's Italians.
Why was it so important to name one of your sons Giovanni Battista ??
John the Baptist, I Know but I have alot of ancestors from the 1700's and 1800's with this name.
was it a fad or something? like naming your child Farrah, Cher or Paris?
Descendant of Rotolo of Rizziconi, Cabriel/Gabriel of Belluno(BL), Froner,Ell,Ognibeni,Moschen of Levico Terme(TN), Libardi,Avancini of Barco di Levico(TN), Bernardi of Ponte nelle Alpi(BL), Metz of Bronzolo(BZ), Bonatti of Martello (BZ),Atz of Salorno(BZ
Well, with a probabilty of 99.99% I have an ancestor named Giovanni Battista Figallo which I found referenced in a notarial act of 1535. A nobleman and a Knight of Malta. Saint. John the Baptist was and is the patron saint of that Order, making the choice of name in this case indicative of a family with prestanding connections to the Order itself.
As far I can think, Giovanni Battista is also an important figure in Christianity, and being Italy a historically important Catholic nation I'm not surprised by the prevalence of such a name.
Don't know what to say about the "importance", it was merely common. I personally like it.
One other thought is that many italians named their children not only after their parents but after dead relatives for some and others on the day of the saint, ie: if you were born near the date for St. Giuseppe then your name might be giuseppe or giusepina, if you were close to the Madonne delle carmine you would be named Maria or Carmelina, or Carmine, etc.
So maybe there is a connection in Advent with John the Baptist for Giovanni Battista. ???