The component parts of the cimarute, which are particularly associated with southern Italy, may differ by region of origin. From out of a central stalk of rue serving as its base, there radiate multiple branches which appear to blossom into various designs; the divergent branches "sprout" at their extremities such magical symbols as: a rose; a hand holding either a wand or a sword; a flaming heart; a fish; a crescent moon; a snake; an owl; a plumed medieval helmet; a vervain blossom; a dolphin; a cock; and an eagle. One cimaruta, for example, might bear the collective imagery of a key, dagger, blossom and moon. Most are double-sided and fairly large—some almost four inches in width.
Author Raven Grimassi in his book The Cimaruta and Other Magical Charms of Italy (Old Ways Press, 2012) discusses the charm as a sign of membership in the "Society of Diana" which he refers to as an organization of witches. Grimassi argues that the Cimaruta was originally a witchcraft charm used by witches that was later arrogated by Italian Folk Magic, and that Christian symbols were then added to the original Pagan symbols.