Tellaro, saved by an octopus

The famous poet Mario Soldati lived here, but the real star of the village is an octopus, which is the symbol of the sea village. You can find octopuses everywhere in Tellaro, carved on door handles, drawn on stone floors, and designed on parking permits for residents. To the Octopus is dedicated the most loved food festivals in the area, taking place in Tellaro every August. Well, the octopus is cooked in many sauces in this case, but isn’t that also a way to celebrate it? 

Why? Because legend has it that it was a giant octopus to save the village from the onslaught of pirates.

In its origins, Tellaro was nothing more than an outpost on a rugged coast. The job of its inhabitants was to defend the inland village of Barbazzano from dangers coming from the sea while also fishing and trading on the sea. Barbazzano was the area’s main town, rich in oil and merchandise and located on the heights behind Tellaro (along the road linking the coast to the Val di Magra). 

In those days, the villages by the sea were constantly threatened by pirate raids. The Pirates were evil men sailing with fast, light ships equipped with massive sails. They landed suddenly and looted everything they could take away on their ships, merchandise, furniture, and maybe even children, which became captives. There was only one way to defend against pirates in the coastal villages; keep a good guard. So townlets has specially built towers and tall houses to have sentries on the lookout all the time. 

At some point in the night, people in Tellaro were all awakened by the loud bells ringing. They ran half asleep amidst the rain and the wind down the beach and then up to the church. They found, to their surprise, that an octopus was firmly secured to the bells’ ropes, probably thrown in by the high tides through the belfry window. The wind, the waves, and the octopus strength were ringing bells!
Now awake, they could view the pirates approaching the village from the sea, easily defend it, and put the pirates to flight.

Of course, nowadays, the 8-tentacled hero is also depicted on the belfry of the Tellaro church, standing against the waves like a daring vessel, fearing no harm.