Torre del Greco

Torre del Greco

The city of Torre del Greco is renewed worldwide for its long and rich tradition in the manufacturing of coral, passed down even today from generation to generation.
Over the centuries, coral fishing and manufacturing, made by experienced craftsmen, became a very important activity in Torre del Greco. The local fishermen used to go with their coral-fishing boats even to the African coasts, exporting coral throughout the world.

«I found coral at depths ranging from ten metres, in the African Sea, to over two hundred metres, in the Sardinian Sea and in other places of the Mediterranean. […] I have drawn a very special map in many years: a map representing all the places of the Mediterranean where I found coral. Every place leads to a memory, to a piece of history locked in me. When I look at the map, I realise that each point on it is also a point in my lifetime».

Used as a jewel, a holy ornament and even as a drug, coral has always fascinated the Mediterranean civilizations since ancient times. Coral fishing in the Mediterranean started in 1000 B.C. and was initially made with a big wooden cross, known as ingegno or St. Andrew’s cross, tied with nets which were thrown from the boats and dragged along the bottom of the sea to entangle and rip out coral.
In 1790, during the Bourbon reign, the Royal Coral Company was founded with the aim of selling raw and manufactured corals, while in 1805, the first factory for coral manufacturing was established in the country.