Annette was the first grandchild on either side of the family. In accordance with Italian tradition, the first baby is to be named after the father's same-sex parent. Annette's name should have been Congettina, but her parents chose to use a derivative taken from her grandfather's name, Anthony. Using the An sound, Joe and Virginia Funicello decided on the name Annette. Mrs. Funicello later joked that she knew the name Congenttina would never fit across a Mickey Mouse sweater without wrapping around the sides, so it had to be shorter.