Umberto Eco (born January 5, 1932) is an Italian medievalist, philosopher and novelist, best known for his novel The Name of the Rose and his many essays. Eco was born in the city of Alessandria in the region of Piedmont. His father, Giulio, was an accountant before the government called upon him to serve in three wars. During World War II, Umberto and his mother, Giovanna, moved to a small village in the Piedmontese mountainside. His family name is an acronym of ex coelis oblatus (lat: a gift from the heavens), which was given to his grandfather (a foundling) by a city official.