Antonino De Simone

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registered among the 150 companies

of the National Historic Archive

Old coral workshop

Old coral workshop

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Since 1400 Torre del Greco has been known as a centre for specialists devoted to the art of coral fishing. Its famous fishermen were so adept at their craft that they ventured as far as the African coasts with their small boats called “coralline”.

 

Unfortunately their life was made very difficult in the 18th century, due to the dangers of being attacked by Arab pirates and the rivalry and friction with the French Compagnie Royale d’Afrique, who was trying to impose a monopoly on coral fishing.

 

As a result, in 1780 coral fishers from Torre asked the Bourbon government for more protection and regulation for their industry, and this petition led to the official publication of the “ Coral Code” in 1790.
Furthermore, the convenience of locating the working and selling of coral in Torre del Greco itself where the raw material was easily available did not go unnoticed.

 

In 1790 the “Royal Coral Company” was established, which granted people from Torre a monopoly on their precious “red gold”.

Unfortunately this company was not successful and the efforts of the Bourbons to support an initial boost to coral-working “in loco” didn’t give the desired results, but before long, the same remit was undertaken by Paolo Bartolomeo Martin from Marseilles, who in 1805 obtained a 10 year licence and monopoly by Ferdinand IV (also approved a year later by Joseph Bonaparte) and finally built the first factory in Torre del Greco, in 1805.


Since then the history of coral in Torre del Greco grows intertwined with the history of De Simone ‘s family in fact an ancestor of his probably worked as an apprentice at Martin’s factory and later in 1830 set up his own business, the same we refer to when we write about our origins.