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    Federica Sebastiano

    Italians, especially in southern Italy, are well known for their attachment to superstition. Therefore, it is not surprising that good-luck charms are particularly popular. Arguably, the most popular amulet is the “cornicello” or “cornetto” (meaning “little horn”). The amulet is believed to protect against “malocchio” (“evil eye”), and it is commonly found in the Italian regions of Campania, Lazio, Puglia, and Basilicata.
    The cornetto is in the shape of a horn, and it can be made from metal, but it is most commonly red in colour. This makes them look very similar to chilli pepper, but it is meant to represent an eland horn. The cornetto finds its origin in Greek and Roman mythology as it is linked to another common symbol: the cornucopia. The cornucopia, also known as the “horn of plenty” is a symbol of abundance and it is commonly illustrated as a large horn-shaped container overflowing with fruits and flowers. Similarly, the cornetto is also associated with abundance and fertility and remains one of the most common Italian symbols of protection. If you ever go to Naples, you can be certain to see at least one cornetto be worn as jewellery, hung from the rearview mirrors of a car, or kept in a house for decor and good luck.

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