Tellaro: how an octopus saved one of the most beautiful hamlets of Italy
East end of the Gulf of Poets, Tellaro is on the list of most beautiful villages in Italy drawn up by the Italian Touring Club. The legend says that it was a bell-ringer octopus to save the village from a pirate invasion
The poet Mario Soldati lived here, but the real star of the village is an octopus, which is the symbol of the sea village (for example, it is designed in car pass for residents) and to which is dedicated one of the main food festivals of the area (the Octopus Festival of Tellaro is usually held in early August).
Why? Because legend has it that it was a giant octopus to save the village from the onslaught of pirates.
The bell-ringer octopus that saved Tellaro from the pirates
In its origins, Tellaro was nothing more than an outpost on a rugged coast. Its task was to defend Barbazzano from dangers coming from the sea. Barbazzano was the main town of the area, rich in oil and merchandise and located on the heights behind Tellaro (along the road linking the coast to the Val di Magra).
When the sea loomed an onslaught of pirates, Tellaro rang the bells and all was set up to resist against them.
In a stormy night in 1660, the legend goes, Tellaro and Barbazzano slept peacefully. The sea was so rough that no one thought dangers could arrive.
It was the belief that no one would have expected them to convince the pirates led by Rooster Arenzano to try the looting of Tellaro and Barbazzano that very night.
The pirates, however, made their calculations wrong, because just as they were approaching the shore, from the water came of Tellaro came out a huge octopus climbing on the fabulous church belfry, and began to ring the bells in warning sign.
The inhabitants of Tellaro took to the streets to defend the village and drove off the pirate onslaught.
After the fight they realized that the bells were not rang by the guard, but by the huge octopus that got stuck to the bell ropes.
The legend is told in the book by Mario Soldati The octopus and the pirates, published by Emme editions.
La foto in copertina è di Marcello Meloni