Tellaro and the legend of the campanaro octopus

The legend of the octopus that saved Tellaro

Tellaro is a small seaside village that has been recognized for several years as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Perched on one of the many cliffs overlooking the Gulf of La Spezia it is absolutely worth a visit and why not even a swim in the sea.
In this small seaside village there lives a legend, the legend of the “polpo campanaro” (bell ringer octopus), and you can’t help but know before going there:
“Saraceni mare nostrum infestantes sunt noctu profligati quod polipus aer cirris suis sacrum pulsabat“.

The inhabitants of Tellaro had built a small church near the sea. There they had posted a sentry with the task of hammering the bells in case of danger.

“With this storm no one will sail. I can sleep peacefully tonight”
Confident of himself, the sentry dozes off, happy not to have to keep his eyes open until the next morning. At exactly midnight the pirates approached the shore. Just when they were about to dock, the bells of the church began to ring, beat and toll… The Tellaresi rushed to defend their country and drove the Saracen pirates back into the sea. Once the danger was averted, they wondered who had rang the bell, seeing that the sentry was sleeping? At the foot of the bell tower, the people of Tellaro saw a huge octopus attached to the ropes of the bells: it was he who saved the country!

The legend originates from a historical event that really happened in July 1660 when a handful of Saracen pirates led by Gallo d’Arenzano attempted a failed assault on the village. A plaque affixed to the outside of the church of San Giorgio celebrates the legendary episode.

Since that event, the Tellaresi have given the octopus the task of being the symbol of the country. In fact, it can be found represented in many corners of the village: on the doors of the houses, on the signs of the premises, drawn on the walls of the houses.

It is probably just a legend but walking in the alleys of this enchanting village one is captivated by the scent of the sea, its sound, and the legend at times gives way to the imagination.

La Dimora del Borgo Antico Tellaro and the legend of the campanaro octopus