|Rick Santorum can trace his roots back to Riva del Garda, Italy|
|Photo courtesy: BBC|
As a matter of fact Santorum, unlike in the rest of the country (Italy has the largest collection of surnames in the world, with over 350,000!), is an old surname in the Riva del Garda area, about as common as Smith is in America.
By the way, do you know what the real meaning and origin of Santorum surname is? Well, it derives from the Latin word Sanctus (Saint), whose genitive plural is Sanctorum, which stands for Sanctorum Omnium, which in turn stands for dies festus Sanctorum Omnium (the Feast of All Saints). This family name, in other words, is possibly connected to someone acting as a saint, or who has connection with religious things (a sacristan), or to someone who was born on the festival day of All Saints.
Another possible explanation is that Santorum might have been a surname given to foundlings, as Temple, for one example, was commonly given as a surname to foundlings left at the Temple of London. In Italy there is a group of names recognized by educated people as originally given to illegitimates left at the church door. Some of this names are Esposito (ex-posed), Proietti (from the Latin proicio, to throw away), Innocente or Innocenti (as in innocent of their father’s sin), De Benedictis, De Benedetti, De Sanctis, Della Croce, etc.
As another example, the surname Eco, as Italian semiotician, essayist, and novelist Umberto Eco (the author of The Name of the Rose)once recalled, was taken from the first letters of the phrase, “ex coelis oblatus,” a Latin phrase meaning “a gift from the heavens”—hey, by saying this I'm not remotely suggesting that Rick Santorum is a gift from the heavens, I'm just bringing up some analogies... But then again, who knows?