The ornamental, esoteric and artistic history of coral works is a story almost exclusively Mediterranean: Pelasgians and proto-Sardinians, Villanovians and Phoenicians, Egyptians, Illyrians, Etruscans, Sicilians, Greeks, Romans, and Syrians; and then Amalfitans, Genoese, the Provencal, the Barbary, Neapolitans, Sicilians. Surrounded at the time by a sea so full of exquisite coral, the Sicilians brought coral, during the sixteenth century, to the peak of art: the so called "curaddari" of the city of Trapani produced the most richest "gulère" or necklaces of the time. The fame of the Trapanese native Ciminello, prince of the "curaddari", reached all of Europe's borders. Then, little by little, Trapani declined followed by the cities of Sciacca and Messina.

The Sicilian sea saw an increasing number of "coral boats" belonging to the Genoese, the locals, the Provencal and Neapolitans. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, in full expansion of coral art thanks especially to the Neapolitans, the Marseillaise Martin established a coral factory in Torre del Greco, in the sixteenth century Palazzo Caracciolo: within a few decades Torre del Greco became not only Europe's largest coral processing center, but also the main base for fishing and trade. To the extent that foreign factories disappeared, and the production focused almost exclusively in Torre del Greco, at the glorious "school of coral engraving and decorative arts and affinities" founded in 1879, from which emerged a good number of refined craftsmen and artists


Today, 90% of all coral fished in the world ends up in the workshops of Torre. Here it is processed, and from here, according to the kind of production, it is sent out again throughout the world. The primacy in craftsmanship of this and other marine materials belongs to Torre del Greco. When King Ferdinand IV of Naples gave people from Torre the "coral" code, a sort of monopoly, the flag of the small town bore a tower between two coral branches. And to a large extent the visible wellbeing of the city stems, still today, from coral, which for over a decade has regained prestige worldwide and is still growing: a greater demand since its fishing is diminishing.

Until a few decades ago fishing was performed with ingenuity through the use of an instrument composed of a large wooden cross weighed down by a boulder at the intersection of its arms, and equipped with a number of nets and dense meshes, called "codazzi". Today, in the Mediterranean, at least on the lower depths, far more fruitful is the intervention of divers. Depending on its origin, coral is distinguished between Mediterranean or "noble" and Japanese.