Coral is the branched endoskeletal framework secreted by colonies of tiny marine animals (polyps) belonging to the Radiata group.
The term "coral" comes from the Latin "corallium" which in turn comes from the greek "korallion" (from "koura halos", which means "sea maiden"). Already used in ancient times, as evidenced by some necklace fragments found in Central Anatolia, dating back to 6000 BC, the coral was long considered a marine plant that petrified once removed from its natural environment; it was only at the beginning of the 18th century that the French doctor Peyssonel realised that it was not a vegetable, but a colony of sea animals.
Over the centuries several Mediterranean cities have excelled in the fishing and processing of the precious red material: Lisbon, Marseilles, Genoa, Livorno and Trapani, just to mention the most famous; but they had to eventually give primacy to Torre del Greco, the small town near Naples that, from the mid-18th century, became universally known as "the coral capital".
Among the variety of corals we should note:
known as "white blood" coral for its internal whitish colour with an outer layer of orange-red to red brown.
Precious coral, typical of the Mediterranean, of deep red, orange, pink (a particular orange hue, very sought after assumes the name of "angel skin") and white: it comes mainly from the Italian coasts (Ligurian arch, Tuscany, Sicily , Western Sardinia), Spain, France (Côte d'Azur and Corsica), and North Africa.