Torre del Greco

Torre del Greco

Infobox CityIT
img_coa = TorredelGreco.gif
official_name = Comune di Torre del Greco
region = Campania
province = Naples (NA)
elevation_m =
area_total_km2 = 30
population_as_of = 2001
population_total = 90607
population_density_km2 = 3097
timezone = CET, UTC+1
coordinates = coord|40|47|N|14|22|E
frazioni = Leopardi, Santa Maria la Bruna
telephone = 081
postalcode = 80059, 80040
gentilic = Torresi or Corallini
saint = St. Januarius
day = September 19
mayor =
website = []

General Description

Torre del Greco (English: Tower of the Greek) is a town and comune in the Province of Naples in the Italian region of Campania, with a population of 90,607 (2001 census). The City is supposedly named after a Greek immigrant who established a vinyard in the area. The reference to a tower may be to a medieval lookout tower which once stood on the coast, but which is no longer extant. The people are sometimes called "Corallini" because of the plentiful coral in the nearby sea, and because the city has been a major producer of coral jewelry and cameo brooches since the 17th Century.

19th and Early 20th Century History

Torre Del Greco was a popular summer resort town for wealthy Italians beginning in the 19th Century and continuing into the early 20th Century. Many 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 which destroyed the homes of many poorer residents. Torre Del Greco was known for its cafes and eateries during its heyday, particularly the "Gran Cafe Palumbo" a large Art Nouveau style cafe which supplied hungry tourists and locals with all manner of gelato, pastries, food, and Coffee and had an extensive outdoor pavilion. 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 beaches and the bucolic setting of lush farmland and Vinyards, as well as the vicinity of Mt. Vesuvius. As the town nearest the volcano, Torre Del Greco was the main starting point for tourists wishing to scale the mountain. This was facilitated by a funicular railway which brought tourists to the crater from the town. During World War II, the city was used as an amunition depot by the German Army and consequently suffered heavy bombing by Allied forces.

Present Day

Subsequent to the War, the tourism industry suffered greatly and with the increase automobile use, the funicular railway fell into disuse thus effectively removing one of the main reasons for tourism to the town. In addition, from the 1950s onwards, massive development, urbanization and population increase have stripped the city of its original "rural" atmosphere, contributing to move tourism on to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast while the Golden Age of Torre Del Greco as a tourist destination is hardly recalled. Nonetheless, coral art and jewelry continues to be a mainstay of the city's economy.

Cameos and Coral Jewelry

Torre del Greco is well known for its production of coral and shell cameos and jewelry. Diving for coral in the Mediterranean Sea has been known to occur since the Roman times. In the 15th century Torre del Greco was known for its coral diving and harvesting of red coral. It would take until the 17th century before the first cameos were produced and until 1815 until a unique manufacturing contract was given for a period of 10 years by the king of Napels. At present the industry boasts several 100 companies and several 1000 people employed in the manufacturing of coral and shell cameos. More and more coral is now imported from Asia, since most areas in the Mediterranean are being protected. The total industry is estimated to have a turnover of around US $ 225 million.


* [ review article of Torre del Greco history and cameo industry (English)]

External links

* [ Official site of the city (Italian)]
* [ (Italian)]
* [ Torrese dictionary and grammar (Italian)]

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