Italian: 1. patronymic from the personal name Innocente (Latin Innocentius), (see 2). This was borne by a 4th-century bishop of Tortona, several popes from the 5th century onwards, and a 6th-century bishop of Le Mans. 2. from innocente ‘innocent’ (Latin innocens, literally ‘not harming’). This was used as a nickname for a simpleton, following the Christian notion that simpletons, like children, were incapable of doing evil. The surname is found principally in Tuscany and neighboring regions and is extremely common in Florence, where it was given as a surname to the foundlings received into the Spedale degli Innocenti, an orphanage established in the 15th century.