History of Alfa Romeo Models & Their Names

November 14th, 2018 by

History of Alfa Romeo Vehicle Models & Their Names

Alfa Romeo models are, unsurprisingly, all titled with Italian names and references to its strong Italian heritage.  

But, by digging deeper into the origins of Alfa Romeo vehicle names, we can see that these vehicle names are truly rich with history and possibility.

The Giulietta

The Alfa Romeo Giulietta was, in a word, a game changer.  

The Giulietta promoted Alfa Romeo as a seller of medium-priced sports sedans, something that it is still known for today. Post-war Alfa Romeo was left without factories and without a leader.  

By producing the Giulietta beginning in 1954, Alfa Romeo moved away from their limited production models and towards mass production, building cars for the middle-class family. The Giulietta was affordable, durable, and extremely popular.

How the Giulietta Was Named

The name Giulietta is an origin of the name Juliet.  

Romeo and Juliet, maybe? It’s possible. The naming may have been an homage to Shakespeare’s famed star-crossed lovers. It would make sense, considering Alfa Romeo’s name, but the word Romeo actually comes from Nicola Romeo, who purchased Alfa and became managing director. Knowing this, the Romeo and Juliet theory seems more and more unlikely.  

There are several other stories of how Giulietta came to be named, any of which could be true.  

The first story suggests that the name Giulietta was proposed by Giorgia De Counsandier, the wife of poet and engineer, Leonardo Sinisgalli. There’s also a story involving the wife of famous Italian director and screenwriter, Federico Fellini, who featured Alfa Romeo vehicles in several of his films.  

Fellini’s wife, Giulietta Masina, was famous in her own right for acting, having starred in Fellini’s breakthrough film La Strada that had opened earlier in 1954. She was a major supporter of the model, even sponsoring a celebration when the 100,001st Giulietta rolled off the Portello factory line. It’s not clear if the car was named for her, or if she just became associated with the car due to their shared name. Either is plausible, but not quite as interesting a story as the third. 

The third story takes place in a Parisian nightclub during the launch of the 1900. Grand Prix driver Jean-Pierre Wimille and several Alfa Romeo directors entered the nightclub and were greeted by a Russian prince, who asked them, “You are eight Romeos, without even one Giulietta?” This earned Giulietta the nickname of “The Italian Girlfriend,” as it is still called today.

The Giulia

Unveiled in 2015 at the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo in Arese, which also coincided with the manufacturer’s 105th anniversary. 

The Giulia was the first Alfa Romeo vehicle in more than two decades to use a longitudinal rear-wheel drive platform. The predecessor was the Alfa Romeo 75, which was discontinued in 1992. Giula was also named the 2018 Motor Trend Car of the Year.  

The car’s success thus far is a symbol for the long-awaited return of Alfa Romeo brand to the U.S. market.

How the Giulia Was Named

In Italian, Giulia means “youthful” and is derived from Giulietta. Which is suiting, considering the powerful engine in the light-weight body style. This combination paired with meticulous engineering lends to active handling and high-performance utility. 

The Stelvio

The 2018 Stelvio was Alfa Romeo’s first SUV. The Stelvio is not your average SUV —- it is an SUV with an Alfa Romeo spin on it. The Stelvio is an impressive blend of luxury and performance, crafted by Italian engineers and artisans.

How the Stelvio Was Named

Stelvio is a name that refers to several things, most of them Italian.  

Stelvio is a name of a town in South Tyrol, as well as Stelvio is a national park, an Italian mountain pass, a cheese, an Italian composer, an Italian director, an Italian musicologist, and so much more.  

So, why is the Stelvio called the Stelvio? Were Alfa Romeo designers infatuated with Stelvio cheese? Did they listen to Stelvio Cipriani, the Italian composer, while designing the SUV? According to a Fiat Chrysler spokesperson, neither of these were the case. The Stelvio was named after the Stelvio Mountain Pass in Italy, given its ability to shine as a high-performance luxury vehicle while carelessly handling even the most intimidating mountain ranges.

New Alfa Romeo Stelvio and new Alfa Romeo Giulia parked facing each other

The Carabo

The Alfa Romeo Carabo was a concept car shown at the 1968 Paris Motor Show. It was never intended to be produced but was instead designed to show off the innovation of the car. It had a wedge body shape and scissor doors, two features which were relatively unheard of before the Carabo. It was a two-door coupe that influenced many future vehicle designs. 

How the Carabo Was Named

The Carabo was named after the Carabidae beetle, the Latin name of the ground beetle insect family. The outer shell of Carabidae is glittery green and orange, which were also the colors of the exterior of the Alfa Romeo Carabo.  

The Alfa Romeo Carabo does weirdly resemble the Carabidae because of its iridescent colors. Naming a sports car after a bug is a bold choice, but it clearly paid off!


The Giulietta, Giulia, and Stelvio are names that encapsulate Italian culture in different ways — even if we don’t know the full story about the Giuletta. Carabo, while named after a beetle, represents the car in all of its glory.  

Stop by a drive any of the above-mentioned models today at albanyalfaromeousa.com.