Greetings from the Academy of Saint Gabriel!
You asked for our opinion of whether <Celesta Chiara da Argenta> or <Celesta Chiara da Venezia> would be more appropriate as a 14th century Venetian name. Here is what we have found.
Either surname is possible in your period, but we think that <da Argenta> is somewhat more likely.
When people originally adopted bynames of location, the names were usually chosen to be distinctive. Someone living in Venezia would probably not have called herself <da Venezia> since that name would not distinguish from her neighbors. She'd be more likely to name herself for the neighborhood where she lived or for a local landmark. On the other hand, if someone moved from Argenta to Venice, she would very likely have been called <da
Argenta> because Argentans were rare enough in Venezia to make it a
By your period, these personal descriptions had largely given way to inherited surnames; but it is still more likely that a family called <de
Venezia> would have lived somewhere other than Venezia itself. Argenta is
located about 50 miles south of Venezia, so it is quite plausible that a family might have made that move.
We don't have any references specifically on Venetian names. I did find one in a library catalogue. I don't know anything about it, but you might want to look it up:
Turato, G. F. and D. Durante, _Vocabolario etimologico veneto-italiano_ (Battaglia Terme (Padova) : La galiverna, 1993).
I hope this letter has been useful. Please write us again if any part of it has been unclear or if you have other questions. I was assisted in researching and writing this letter by Talan Gwynek.
For the Academy,