Torre del Greco
|Torre del Greco|
|Metropolitan City of Naples|
Panorama of Torre del Greco
|• Mayor||Ciro Borriello|
|• Total||30.7 km2 (11.9 sq mi)|
|Population (30 April 2009)|
|• Density||2,900/km2 (7,400/sq mi)|
|Demonym||Torresi or Corallini|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Postal code||80059, 80040|
|Patron saint||St. Januarius|
|Saint day||September 19|
Torre del Greco [ˈtorre dɛl ˈɡrɛko] (Neapolitan: Torre d''o Grieco) is a city and comune in the Metropolitan City of Naples in Italy, with a population of some 88,000 as of 2007. People are sometimes called Corallini because of the once plentiful coral in the nearby sea, and because the city has been a major producer of coral jewellery and cameo brooches since the seventeenth century.
Ancient and Medieval Period
Historically part of Magna Graecia, the area was first colonised by ancient Greek settlers. In Roman times, Torre del Greco was probably a suburb of Herculaneum, characterized by patricians villas. After the 79 AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius which destroyed the area, two villages are known to have existed in the area, Sora and Calastro. The Byzantine general Belisarius moved their inhabitants to Naples in 535. Around 700, it is also known as Turris Octava, the Latin for The Tower of Eight [sides] or The Eighth Tower, probably referring to a coastal watch tower.
In 880 the territory was settled by the Saracens, with the permission of Bishop Athanasius of Naples. The current name appears for the first time in 1015; according to tradition, it stems from a Greek hermit who took up residence in the tower, or from the cultivation of a particular vine from Greece.
The Middle Ages
In 1631 Torre del Greco was again damaged by an eruption of Vesuvius. Its citizens bought back their rights in 1699, after paying 106,000 ducats to their landord, the Marquis of Monforte, and thenceforth the city flourished as a maritime trading and fishing port. The tradition of coral crafting dates from this time.
The historical center of Torre del Greco was buried under a 10 m-deep layer of lava in 1794.
19th and Early 20th Century
Starting in the 16th century, wealthy families and even Italian nobility built elaborate summer palaces on the outskirts of the town. Among the most notable of these is the Palazzo Materazzo, renovated in the 1970s as a dance school, but later taken over by squatters after a 1980 earthquake destroyed the homes of many of the poorer residents. In the 19th century, and continuing into the early 20th century, Torre Del Greco was a popular summer resort for wealthy Italians.
In its heyday Torre Del Greco was renowned for its cafes and eateries, particularly the "Gran Cafe Palumbo", a large Art Nouveau cafe with an extensive outdoor pavilion known for its gelato (ice cream), pastries, food and coffee. The famous Italian comedian Toto, was among those who made Torre Del Greco their annual summer retreat. The reason for Torre Del Greco's popularity as a resort town was its fine beaches and the rural setting of lush farmlands and vineyards, as well as its close proximity to Mount Vesuvius. As the town nearest to the volcano, Torre Del Greco was the main starting point for tourists wishing to scale the mountain. This was facilitated by a funicular railway (Vesuvius Funicular) which took tourists to the crater from the town.
During World War II, the city was used as an ammunition depot by the German Army, and consequently suffered heavy bombing by Allied forces.
After World War II
After the war tourism swiftly declined, and with the increase in automobile use the funicular railway fell into disuse, thus effectively removing one of the main reasons for visiting the town. In addition, from the 1950s onwards, massive development, urbanization and population increase stripped the city of its "rural" atmosphere, contributing to the move of tourists on to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast. Few now recall the Golden Age of Torre Del Greco as a tourist destination. Nonetheless, coral art and jewellery remains a mainstay of the city's economy.
|Climate data for Torre del Greco|
|Average high °C (°F)||12.5
|Average low °C (°F)||3.8
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||104
- Roman archaeological remains, including the so-called "Villa Sora" (1st century AD), probably a property of the Flavians.
- Monastery of the Zoccolanti, with a cloister housing 28 frescoed panels depicting the life of St. Francis of Assisi.
- Parish church of Santa Croce, whose Baroque bell tower was buried by lava in 1794.
- 17th-century church of San Michele.
- Villa delle Ginestre, where the poet Giacomo Leopardi sojourned.
- Museum of Coral.
Cameos and Coral Jewellery
Diving for coral has taken place in the Mediterranean Sea ever since Roman times, and in the 15th century Torre del Greco became known for its coral diving and harvesting of red coral. However, It was not until the 17th century that the first cameos were produced, and not until 1815 that a unique manufacturing contract was granted to the town by the King of Naples for a period of 10 years.
At present there are several hundred companies and several thousands of people employed in the manufacture of coral and shell cameos. Coral is now mainly imported from Asia, since increasingly, areas in the Mediterranean are becoming protected. The total industry is estimated to have a turnover of around US $225 million.
- Salvatore Accardo, violinist and conductor
- Francesco Albanese, tenor
- Ruggero Bonghi, philologist and politician
- Rita Bottiglieri, ex pentathlete
- Ruggero Cappuccio, author and director
- Vincenzo Ciaravolo, Sailor, Recipient of the Gold Medal of Military Valor
- Salvatore Commesso, cyclist
- Ermanno Corsi, Journalist and writer
- Ettore Capriolo, Italian translator of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses
- Gino D'Acampo, chef
- Nicolas De Corsi, painter
- Giovanni Di Cristo, Italian national team judoku
- Enrico de Nicola, First president of Italy
- Maria Di Donna, Singer: 99 Posse
- Barbara D'Urso, Television presenter
- Mauro Esposito, footballer for A.S. Roma and the Italian national football team
- Aniello Formisano, Italian senator
- Mimmo Liguoro, Journalist
- Ernesto Mahieux, actor
- Adolfo Margiotta, comic
- Carlo Parlati, sculptor
- Valeria Parrella, writer
- Massimo Rastelli, footballer
- Arturo Scotto, member of the Italian parliament
- Francesco Vitiello, actor
- Gennaro Vitiello, director and stage actor
- Nicola Antonio Zingarelli, composer
- Dario Nardella, mayor of Florence
- Giovanni Noto, incisore
Torre del Greco is twinned with:
- Montesarchio (Italy)
- "Torre del Greco historic weather averages in Italy". Intellicast. Retrieved 3 June 2009.
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