Nella is a baby name that can be found in Giambattista Basile's Il Pentamerone collection of fairy tales, in the story called "Verde Prato," or "Green Lawn." Nella can be short for many names, such as Antonella, Serenella and Marianella, most of them being long and frilly Italian names, but Nella can stand on its own, just as Elle does.
To summarize the story, which is very similar to the Cinderella story we know today, Nella is in love with a prince and her two sisters are very jealous of everything that Nella does and all of her good fortune. In order to see Nella in secret, because her mother is so stern, the prince gives Nella a magic powder that creates a crystal viaduct he can travel in from his palace to her bedroom. The jealous sisters break the crystal passageway while the prince is traveling through it, and he is mortally wounded. Nella happens to find the magical remedy to the prince's wounds on her way to see him, and when she heals her lover the king marries them and the sisters are punished.
In 1981 the name Nella was used in John Godey's suspence novel "Nella."
Nella Walker was a Hollywood Golden Age actress. Nella Martinetti was a Swiss singer called "Bella Nella." Nella Last wrote diaries during World War II.
Nella ranked in the U.S. from 1880 at #570 until 1941 at #990, excluding six years in between. Today it does not rank. The "-nella" add on for names generally means "little, youngest." As a stand-alone name it comes from both Helen and Eleanor. It has been used as a nickname for many names, including Cornelia and Fenella. Nella itself can have nicknames: Nell, or Nellie.