A cornicello or cornetto, Italian for "little horn" or "hornlet", often abbreviated to corno, is an Italian amulet or talisman worn to protect against the evil eye (or malocchio). In Neapolitan, it is called cuornuciello or variants thereof. The amulet is also sometimes referred to as the Italian horn.
Origins and styles
In Italy people may wear the cornicello - an amulet of good luck used for protection against the evil-eye curse. It consists of a twisted horn-shaped charm often made of gold, silver, bone, terracotta or red coral. Originally cornecelli resembled the twisted horn of an African eland, though over the years they have become stylized and less horn-like. The shape and colour of the red horn are reminiscent of a chili pepper. A regionally popular amulet, they occur primarily in Italy, in the regions of Campania as well as Lazio, Marche, Abruzzo, Calabria, Basilicata, Lombardy, and Friuli-Venezia Giulia and elsewhere among descendants of Italian immigrants.
Possibly related to the corno is the mano cornuta or "horned hand." This is an Italian hand-gesture (or an amulet imitative of the gesture) that can be used to indicate that a man has been cuckolded ("wears the horns") and also to ward off the evil eye. Mano means "hand" and corno means "horn."
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