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Do you ever wonder how some cars got their names? For example, the Alfa Romeo Giulia. How did that name for the iconic, compact executive car come about, anyway? Additionally, what does Giulia mean in translation? Keep reading and learn a few things about his Alfa Romeo sedan, including how it earned its name.

A red 2023 Alfa Romeo Giulia driving on a open road.
2023 Alfa Romeo Giulia | Stellantis

A brief history of the Alfa Romeo Giulia

The Alfa Romeo Giulia’s origin story dates all the way back to the ’50s. The Type 105 was a sporty four-door car intended for executive use from 1962 to 1978. The Giulia debuted at the Monza racing circuit.

The Spider has come on stage since as a more powerful and updated version. And the Giulia Type 952 was a compact executive car launched in 2015. It was released as a rear-wheel drive car but would later offer an all-wheel drive option, too.

The original 105 type was lightweight with an alloy camshaft engine, available in either 1.3-liter or 1.6-liter iterations. There were carburetor options, too, and at the time, the Alfa Romeo Giulia was a handling dream, especially in those top speed tests where it clocked a top speed of 106 mph.

Of course, today’s Alfa Romeo Giulia is more substantial, with 280 horsepower and a top speed of 149 mph. But it still delivers a “Best-in-Class” performance and the “most powerful engine in its class” to boot. But what about the name?

What the word Giulia means

According to Matteo Licata on Medium, last year marked the 60th anniversary of the Alfa Romeo Giulia. And even if you’ve never owned one yourself, you might be interested to learn more about this boxy, executive car’s name.

If you check the responses on AlfaBB, you’ll get a mix of answers. Some say the name Giulia is just the “bigger displacement” version of the earlier Giulietta. Others say it’s all about Shakespeare.

So, is the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Giulietta really named after Romeo and JulietJalopnik says, as romantic as it sounds, and despite the term “Romeo” already present in the name, there’s no official confirmation of a direct correlation between the car and the Shakespeare tale.

One rumor suggests Giorgia De Cousandier, the wife of a poet, came up with the moniker. And it stuck. Another tale says it’s named after Federico Fellini’s wife, Giulietta Masina. 

But the best “story” dates back to 1950 when Grand Prix driver Jean-Pierre Wimille and seven Alfa Romeo directors were preparing to launch the Alfa Romeo 1900 in Paris. It was during that group discussion that a nearby, and perhaps eavesdropping, Russian prince said to the group, “you are eight Romeos without even one Giulietta?”

So, it’s quite possible, out of all of these stories, at least one lends some truth to how the name came about officially.

What about Alfa Romeo and Quadrifoglio?

The “Alfa” in Alfa Romeo does have meaning elsewhere. It’s actually an acronym that stands for “Anonima Lombard Fabbrica Automobili.” The “Romeo” came from Nicola Romeo, an industrialist who became the managing director of the early automaker. 

As for the Quadrifoglio, which means “four-leaf clover” in Italian, you’ll spot the green emblem on older, more vintage models. It was originally intended to be a good luck charm. And now represents the Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio models. 

Now that you’re versed on the Alfa Romeo Giulia, the only question is, will you go test drive one?


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