Top 7 Things to Know about Malocchio or the Italian Evil Eye

What is Malocchio?

Malocchio is the Italian word for the "Evil Eye", a belief starting in antiquity that others can cast an ‘evil eye’ of jealousy, envy, or malice on a person or a personal object, which brings them harm or misfortune.

The belief in the Evil Eye is found in many cultures around the world, and it is often associated with feelings of envy or resentment. People who are believed to have the ability to cast the evil eye are thought to have a powerful gaze that can bring about harm or misfortune to others.

Here are the Top 7 Things to know about Malocchio or the Italian Evil Eye.

1. What is the meaning of Malocchio?

In Italian, ‘Mal’ means evil, while ‘occhio’ means eye. So Malocchio translates to “Evil Eye”.

The person said to give the Malocchio is known as the ‘jettadore’, or a person who brings bad luck.

2. Where does Malocchio come from?

The belief in Malocchio or the Italian Evil Eye can be traced to that of the ‘Evil Eye Symbol’, originating in ancient Egypt in 3000 BC.

From here the belief is said to have traveled to ancient Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley Civilization in 1500 BC, to ancient Greece in 700 BC, before reaching ancient Rome in 500 BC.

In a remarkably visual fashion, ancient Roman mosaic floors even depict defences against the evil eye. Including being stabbed by weapons, attacked by dogs, pecked by birds, attacked by dogs, eaten by insects, and stung by snakes and scorpions.

3. How does someone receive Malocchio?

It is said that Malocchio can be given in four ways, including by malice, by attaccatura (attachment), by fascino (binding), or by fattura (fixing).

It is believed that the most common way to receive or give Malocchio is by excessive compliments or praise, especially if the praise is much more than deserved.

This is why in Italy most compliments are followed by “God bless you”, to avoid giving any accidental Malocchio.

4. What are the symptoms of Malocchio?

The symptoms of Malocchio include being the recipient of uncharacteristic bad luck, poor health, or accidental loss.

The object affected by Malocchio is often something that was working perfectly till it received recent praise.

5. How to get rid of Italian Malocchio?

It is said that to rid oneself of Malocchio, one needs to make the sign of the cross with olive oil in a bowl of water.

In exact, one needs to recite a silent prayer with the name of the person suspected of having Malocchio, and with their little finger, drop no more than five drops to make the holy cross in a bowl of water.

If the oil stays on the surface then the person is safe, but if the oil drops or dilutes in the water, then the person is said to have Malocchio.

The ritual above needs to be repeated three times to remove the spell.

6. How do you protect yourself from Malocchio?

It is said that there are three ways to protect oneself from Malocchio.

These include wearing Cornicello jewelry or hanging Cornicello home decor, hanging Cimaruta charms in kid’s rooms, and making the Sign of the Horns when no other option is available.

Read more on each of these ways to protect from Malocchio below.

Wearing Cornicello Jewelry or Hanging Cornicello Home Decor

Cornicello, or Italian for ‘little horn’ is a long, gently twisted horn-shaped amulet, similar to the color and shape of a chili pepper.

With the symbol found in the ruins of Pompei and Rome, the belief in the protective and virile powers of the Cornicello goes back at least to ancient Roman times, nearly 2,000 years ago.

Historically made from gold, silver, or carved out of bone or coral. It is also known as 'corno portafortuna', or the ‘horn that brings luck’.

Usually colored red, which in the Middle Ages had a double meaning, symbolizing victory over enemies, and also symbolizing good luck.

The Cornicello can be seen in modern-day Italy hanging in people's houses, outside windows, inside automobiles, worn as jewelry, and more.

Hanging a Cimaruta Charm in Kids Rooms

Cimaruta, or Italian for ‘sprig of rue’, is an ancient Italian ‘portafortuna’ or good luck charm, worn around the neck, or hung above an infant’s bed to ward off Malocchio.

Based on the sacred rue herb, which has medicinal properties, and is also believed to protect against poisoning and sorcery. A Cimaruta is traditionally made of silver, with multiple different small charms branching off from the central stalk of the rue plant.

These small charms that combine to make a Cimaruta can include a hand, the moon, keys, a flower, a horn, a rooster, serpent, heart, eagle, and more. Symbolizing strength, protection, power, virility, vigilance, health, healing, and more.

With different combinations of small charms, each Cimaruta is said to carry unique magical and protective properties.

Making a Sign of the Horns

The ‘Sign of the Horns’ or ‘manu cornuta’ in Italian, literally translating into ‘horned hand’, is made by extending the index and little fingers, while holding the middle and ring fingers down with the thumb.

When confronted with unavoidable situations and events, making the Sign of the horns is believed to ward off further bad luck.

Curiously enough, the Sign of the Horns is also found in ancient Buddhism, as a gesture or mudra to ward off negative energy.

7. Is Malocchio also popular in other countries?

While the Malocchio is a distinctively Italian belief, the larger belief in the Evil Eye spans across modern-day countries, cultures, and religions.

Starting in Egypt, the belief in the Evil Eye Meaning also lives with the people of Greece as Mati or the Greek Evil Eye.

With the people of Spain, the Caribbean, and Latin America as Mal de Ojo.

As well as with the people of Turkey as Kem Goz or the Turkish Evil Eye, and with the people of India and the Middle East as Nazar.

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