Italian Superstitions: Corno

Italians all say “we’re not superstitious“. Don’t believe them. That’s a lie. Italians are most definitely superstitious. Even some of the most sensible and logical Italians I know are still inexplicably superstitious.

I thought it’d be fun to kick off 2012 with the first in a series of posts based on Italians’ ideas on fortuna and sfortuna (good luck and bad luck). I always like to start on a positive note, so today let’s talk about good luck.

Red Coral Corno

The most popular Italian good luck charm is by far the corno (the horn).

The origin of the corno is said to stem from the Old European moon goddess, before the rise of Christianity, and it’s supposed to protect you from the dreaded evil eye.

The corno is traditionally made from reddish/pinkish coral that predominately grows in the Mediterranean sea surrounding Italy, and is worn around the neck as a charm. Although today you can see it in lots of forms including silver, gold, and even plastic key chain versions which you can easily find in any tacky souvenir shop in Italy.

Plastic Key Chain Corno

These good luck charms are so popular that you can see them in America too. If you’re Italo-American then you probably already know what I’m talking about. If you’re not, then go ask one of your friends with an Italian last name if they know about the corno. I’ll bet they do!

Now I’m not superstitious, but I do have a corno that I often wear. I’ve been living here a while now, and certain things have rubbed off on me!

Paired with my hairy chest, I’d say that it’s pretty darn Italian of me! 🙂

My Corno

Do you guys have any preferred good luck charms? Leave me a comment and share yours!

Here’s to a 2012 filled with good luck for all my readers!


17 thoughts on “Italian Superstitions: Corno

  1. Thanks for the laugh! My first this morning but I hope not the last. The photo of your hairy chest with the corno needs a frame; it’s a piece of art.

    Found you via BlogExpat who approached me for an interview and sent me to your interview and here I am in Moldova, reading about your hairy chest in Italy on your blog. It’s a wonderful world.

    We’ve been to Italy a number of times on vacation and after wandering the world for years, we may just settle there in the next couple of years. My husband says it has just the right amount of anarchism to suit him.

  2. One of the things I say almost everyday is “Those crazy Germans.” Your posts seem to indicate you could say the same about your chosen people. Lovingly, of course.

  3. Just found your blog through BlogExpat. Saw this post which made me remember I actually had a corno in high school! Someone brought it back for me from Italy I believe. Thanks for the flashback — I want to find a new corno now!

  4. In Northern Italy we called it “cornini” or “peperoncini” and they are mostly used in southern Italy!
    If you shows your hairy chest like this in Milan, you will probably taken as a southern Italian, also called “terrone” or “tamarro”, that are some insults so please don’t repeat it 😀

  5. Pingback: Italian Superstitions: Touch Yourself | Change of Underwear

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