How To Protect Yourself From The Evil Eye (Malocchio)

Many Italian-American families have deep-rooted beliefs about luck that originate from Italy. These include many superstitions that can be scary. One of these superstitions is termed "Il Malacchio". It is also widely known as "The Evil Eye" (Mal = Bad, Occhio = Eye). 

What Is The Evil Eye?

Many Italian-American families have deep-rooted beliefs about luck that originate from Italy. These include many superstitions that can be scary. One of the most popular superstitions is termed “Il Malacchio”. It is also widely known as “The Evil Eye” (Mal = Bad, Occhio = Eye).

The Evil Eye is a condition of unluckiness that brings misfortune and sickness. It is most commonly given through a look one person gives to another out of anger, envy, or hatred. This look can be given intentionally or unintentionally.

How To Prevent It

The standard way to prevent The Evil Eye is by wearing a cornicello (Italian Horn). The cornicello is usually worn as a necklace or keychain and resembles the shape of a pepper. They typically are only sold in Italy and North America.

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Due to its popularity, many Italian-Americans use the Italian horn for more reasons than just warding off the Malocchio. Many use it as a symbol of Italian pride and for good luck in general.

Since The Evil Eye is given from an outside source, it is said that one cannot purchase an Italian horn themselves to rid the curse (would be too easy!). It can only be given as a gift.

Of course, the best way to avoid the curse is by sticking to the same beliefs as our Italian Ancestors. If you do bring jealousy on to others there is no reason for you to worry. This is mainly why you are not allowed to purchase the amulet yourself, it is not meant to be an excuse to commit envy. However, wearing the amulet can be a great reminder of this cause.

How To Know If You Have It

So, have you been having back luck lately? Have you been losing things, feeling sick, or missing opportunities?

There is an ancient trick to figuring this out. To diagnose The Evil Eye, drop three drops of olive oil in a bowl/plate filled with water. If the oil forms into the shape of an eye, you are a victim of the curse!

How To Rid It

How do you test if you actually have the Malocchio?

The way to rid the curse can be done in the same process as the diagnosis. As you’re probably guessing by now, you cannot rid this yourself! You will need another person to help.

When the oil separates in the bowl, have the other person make the sign of the cross, and say a prayer. They should then place their hands on you and say that the prayer is meant for you. Many people believe that this should also be done three times. And even that’s not all! Afterward, both people must then say the “Our Father,” “Haily Mary,” and “Holy Spirit” prayers.


Does your family believe in Il Malocchio? Do they do the same or similar routine? Let us know what Italian superstitions your family has in the comments!






  1. The neighborhood ladies used to do the water and olive oil on my mom all the time – she was prone to migraines. I’m thrilled you have the information on the cure – she swore t cured her headache very time. She never learned the cure, you could only be taught on the feast of the Assumption and The Feast of Immaculate Mary… Do I have to wait to read the instructions then? Any advise hardcore Italians. Also – the way my grandmother would spare me getting the evil eye, she would hold me close, spit spit spit and say “Bruta.” Oh how I loved her.

  2. I’m 3rd gen. Sicilian and I learned about the Malocchio when I was just a kid. When I had my first child and someone said “Oh, isn’t she beautiful”, off we ran to Commare Rosalie’s house six blocks away. Commare Rosalie was a wonderful person, first gen Italian and until adulthood, I would go to her when things got crazy in my life and she’d do it. Oil, water, salt in the sign of the cross while saying a prayer. She’d start yawning and it would continue until she stopped praying and she’d get a bad headache. She lived until she was in her late 90’s and our belief was you can only learn the prayer at midnight on Christmas Eve. I learned it but I can’t remember the prayers she said. I really miss her. Wish I knew someone who can do it who is hard core Italian in the Philly area.

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