Several are the myths and legends of Torre del Greco, locations between the Vesuvius National Park and the waters of the Gulf of Naples. In this fascinating and ancient city there are incredible narratives and very ancient beliefs on the account of its red gold, the coral, whose art finds its origins in a legendary story of thelove. The very name of the city comes from a mysterious affair somewhere between history and legend.

The origins of the name Torre del Greco

There are many hypotheses formulated with respect to the mysterious origins Of the name of the city of Torre del Greco. Its ancient name apparently comes from Turris Octava, Eighth Tower, as the town had anciently developed around a very large and majestic tower, built by Frederick II Duke of Swabia for the purpose of spotting the Saracens, his feared enemies, before they could launch their attack.

As of Naples, this construction was supposed to be the eighth defensive tower but according to another hypothesis, eighth stood for the fact that the tower was eight miles away from the city of Naples.

According to Francesco Balzano's historical reconstruction, the name of Torre del Greco, however, comes from a precious gift given by a hermit to the Queen Joan. According to this story, the unknown traveler brought the sovereign a particular grape of Greek origin, from which a wine was produced that was so sweet and special that it made the city the producer of excellence of a fantastic Greek wine.

However, this has remained a mere belief since it seems that the production of the particular wine of Torre del Greco was older than the Angevin era and was therefore not responsible for the origins of the city's name, the connection between the name Torre del Greco and the wine produced of which we are not aware of anyway.

The red gold of Torre del Greco

Torre del Greco has always been famous throughout the world for the processing of a very special material: the coral. This, because of its characteristics has fascinated man since ancient times, giving rise to very peculiar beliefs, myths and legends. Its very definition created doubts in the minds of our ancestors who, although they knew well the marine origin of coral, did not know how to classify it.

Its appearance resembled that of a plant but its hardness was typical of a mineral and being the home of tiny filter-feeding polyps, it also included an animal meaning.

Because of its beauty, it was prized by women of all ages who wanted to wear jewelry and artifacts made from this precious material obtained from the seabed.

The oldest beliefs about the coral date back to the time of early civilizations that attributed magical powers to this material. Evidence of this is the presence of objects or bits of raw coral in burial structures. Also in Egypt, ancient civilization used coral to make scarabs and protective amulets, later found in the Pharaonic pyramids. I Romans, on the other hand, as well as the Greeks, gave coral therapeutic and healing powers.

The Legend of Medusa

The oldest legend, told by Ovid in its Metamorphosis It is really about the origins of coral. It is said that this precious material was formed from the blood of one of the three Gorgons, Jellyfish. The three monsters of Greek mythology, they had the power to petrify anyone they encountered. Of the three, Medusa was the only mortal and was, in fact, killed by Perseus. When the hero decapitated her by severing her head crowned by the countless snakes, drops of her red blood, gushing from the wound, fell into the sea and settled on seaweed, which was thus petrified, turning into coral.

The Birth of the Art of Coral

The bright red color of coral is also a symbol of passion and love, so about the origins of its manufacture, a romantic story mixed with a love legend could not fail to arise as well. Popular tradition in Torre del Greco, attributes to the bourgeois native of Genoa, Paolo Bartolomeo Martin, the birth of theart Of coral processing.

Bartholomew, an entrepreneur with a great talent for working coral cameos, came to Torre del Greco in search of fortune after leaving Marseille following the crisis due to the French Revolution. One day, absorbed in buying and selling coral at the port he crossed the gaze of a girl who was the sister of a local fisherman. Enlightened by the sun's rays and the magic of the red corals, the woman immediately swept the young entrepreneur off his feet, who, madly in love with her, moved to Torre del Greco where he undertook the art of coral working, previously simply fished by the people of the town.