A Glossary of Colours in Sixteenth Century Italian

These colour names are taken directly from Florio's 1598 edition of his "Worlde of Wordes" - an Italian/English Dictionary. The Italian word is as it appears in the original, but I have modernised the spelling of the English definition.

The colour examples that I have chosen to accompany each definition are purely my own fanciful interpretation, hindered somewhat by a lack of specific detail, and the limitation of monitor settings, as well as my own subjectivity. Well, at least they add a bit of colour to the page.

There are currently 117 colour definitions. I will be adding to these from the 1611 edition of the dictionary in time. 

See also A Glossary of Sixteenth Century Italian Words Relating to Costume

  Argentino -silvery, or a silver colour, like silver
  Asteratico -a kind of sky colour. Also a stone or earth so called
  Azurro -azure, blue, watchet, sky-colour
  Beltro -a mixed colour of green, white and red
  Biavo -a bright pale yellow colour
  Bigio -gray or russet colour
  Bigiuccia -a kind of gray or clay colour
  Biondeggiante -shining yellow, or of the colour of gold
  Brocco -a kind of red or yellowish colour
  Carnadino -carnation colour
  Castagnato -chestnut colour
  Celéste -heavenly, celestial. Also sky-colour, or azure and watchet
  Celestro -azure, watchet, or sky-colour
  Cenericcio -ash colour, or one that lies in the chimney-corner
  Cerino -a kind of colour like yellow wax
  Ceruato -of the colour of a flag, a speckled dun or russet
  Ceruléo -sky colour, azure or watchet
  Chiaroscuro -a kind of dark puke (puce?) colour
  Cianco -a kind of bright blue or azure colour
  Cilestro -azure, blue, sky-colour or watchet. Also a kind of lily so called.
  Citrino -a pale yellow lemon colour
  Claretto -a claret colour
  Coccinéo -dyed in grain, scarlet or crimson, of a scarlet colour
  Colombino -dove colour, columbine colour
  Coracino -a little heart, a bright raven or crow-black colour.
  Corallino -coral colour, a little coral
  Crocéo -a saffron colour
  Ferigno - -cruel, fierce, of the colour or nature of iron..
  Ferruginéo -of an iron colour
  Fiamma di volto -a blush, or maiden's blush colour
  Fiamméo -a flame colour
  Flamméo -a flame colour
  Fratesco -friar-ish, friar-like. Also a gray or ash colour
  Fulvo -the colour of gold, or bright yellow
  Giallo -the colour yellow
  Gioggiolino -a kind of colour which we call flesh-colour, or brick colour
  Goro -a kind of wine or the colour thereof
  Grezza -of the colour of hemp or coarse canvas un-whited
  Habano, Habeno -the black wood called Hebanie (Ebony). Also sable or sad colour.
  Hiacintho -a precious stone called a hyacinth...also a purple colour
  Incarnadino -a carnation or flesh colour
  Inlividito -black, blue, wan or the colour of lead and ashes....
  Inlivido - as above
  Lattéo -of milk, milky, milken. Also milk white colour
  Lemonino -a kind of lemon colour...
  Leonato -the colour of a lion, or tawny
  Limoncino -a kind of lemon colour
  Lutéo -yellowish or somewhat yellow in colour like the yolk of an egg
  Molichino -a kind of purple colour
  Molochino -a kind of colour like a whitish purple, or like the flowers of mallows
  Morato -black, or a blackberry colour
  Morello -the colour murrey, or dark red
  Morellotto -ruddy, red, flaming red, red hot, high or fiery-coloured
  Mustellino -a kind of colour like a weasel
  Orobe -... Also a kind of grass-green colour
  Pagliato -pallet, pale, or straw colour
  Pagliccio -of a straw colour
  Pagonaccio -a purple colour or French russet
  Palombino -a dove colour, a ring-dove colour
  Pardo -a deer or sandy colour..
  Pavonacchio -a kind of purple, puke (puce?) or French russet colour
  Pavonacchio cupo -a deep dark purple or puke (puce?) colour
  Peperigno -...Also of the colour of pepper
  Persichino -a peach colour
  Perso -...Also a dark, brown, black mourning colour
  Peverigno -...also of the colour of pepper...
  Piombino -...also of the colour of lead
  Plombéo -...leaden coloured
  Porporina -of purple colour
  Porréo -of the colour of a leek
  Prasino -a kind of yellowish-green, or as some think a leek-green colour
  Punico -a colour as red as scarlet. Some take it for yellow
  Púrpura -the purple colour
  Purpurato -...of, or belonging to purple or purple colour
  Purpuréo -of the colour of purple, like purple, red, bluish
  Rancia rosso -orange tawney colour, almost like red
  Ranciato -orange tawney colour...
  Ranzetto -of the colour of raw silk
  Robbo -...also red or ruddy-coloured
  Rósa secca -a kind of murrey or rose colour
  Rosacéo -of the colour of roses
  Rosato - of the colour of roses, rose colour, murrey
  Roséo -a kind of rose colour
  Rossetto -somewhat red, ruddy. Also russet..., a blush colour
  Rossiccio -reddish, ruddy, enclining to red, a blush colour
  Rubecchio -red, reddish, ruddy, sanguine colour
  Rúbido -a kind of dark, deep red colour
  Ruffo -....also a red colour
  Sambucato -a green colour called alder tree colour
  Sbiadato -...also an azure or bright sky colour
  Sbianciolo -...also straw-colour
  Scarlatino -the colour we call stammell red. Also scarlet.
  Scarlato -scarlet cloth, scarlet colour
  Scalatto -as above
  Silacéo -of yellow colour
  Solforéo -of, or belonging to, mixed with, or of the colour of brimstone (sulphur)
  Spadice -a scarlet or red colour
  Spadico -as above
  Talodino -a kind of tawney colour
  Tanè -tawney colour
  Thalasio -a sea-water green colour
  Thessalico -a kind of purple colour
  Torchino -blue colour
  Turchina -as Turchesa (Turquoise). Also blue, azure or sky colour.
  Turchino -blue, azure, watchet, or bisse colour.
  Ulivale -inclining to the colour of olives
  Ulivastro -brown, or of the colour of olives
  Veneto -a light or Venice blue, a Turquoise colour
  Verdegiallo -a yellowish green
  Verdone -a kind of dark French green
  Vermiglio -red or vermilion colour...
  Violacéo -a kind of purple or violet colour. Also like a violet
  Violato -....also a colour called a violet colour, a purple, a puke (puce?), or a French russet
  Violetto -a violet or purple colour, or a kind of French russet
  Violettino -as above
  Voltorino -....also a kind of gray colour
  Zalolino -a kind of pale wan colour


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© 2001 - 2010 Anabella Wake (Known in the SCA as Bella Lucia da Verona) I hold copyright on all information on these pages, and on all images of clothing/costume that I have made. You are allowed to make one facsimile copy for your own use provided that this notice is included on each page. Please ask permission to copy, disseminate and/or distribute my work - I would like to know when and how you are finding this information of use.