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Waidner-Spahr Library

Italian: MLA Citations in Italian

Capitalization and Personal Names in Foreign Languages

This page contains reccomendations for writing personal names and for capitalizing in Italian. For more information on MLA style, please refer to the Citing Sources Guide

All of the following samples are taken from:

The Modern Language Association of America. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 2009. Print


Personal Names

The names of many Italians who have lived before or during the Renaissance are alphabetized by first name.

Dante Aligheri
Leonardo da Vinci
Michaelangelo Buonarroti

But other names follow standard practice.

Boccaccio, Giovanni
Cellini, Benvenuto

The names of members of historic families are also usually alphabetized by last name.

Este, Beatrice d'
Medici, Lorenzo de'

In modern times, Italian da, de, del, della, di, and d' are usually capitalized and used with the last name alone.

Da Ponte (Lorenzo Da Ponte)
Della Robbia (Andrea Della Robbia)



In prose and verse, Italian capitalization is the same as English, except that in Italian centuries and other large divisions of time are capitalized (il Seicento) and the following terms are not capitalized, unless the begin sentences or, usually, lines of verse:

1. The subject pronoun io 'I'
2. The names of months and days of the week
3. The names of languages and nationalities
4. Nouns, adjectives, and adverbs derived from proper nouns
5. Titles preceding personal names
6. The words meaning "street," "square," and so on, in most place-names

In a title or subtitle, capitalize only the first word and all words normally capitalized.

Bibliographia della critica pirandelliana