Is this how one makes the sign of the malocchio in Italy today? If I'm not mistaken, this custom actually goes back to the Romans. Just curious.
It really depends on the region and the influences. Since Italy has Roman, Greek and Arabic influences in different regions, different takes on it appeared.
In Friuli, it is believed that it is passed on through a malevolent gaze, usually from someone seen as evil or envious (hence the reason it is an important part of a wedding, envious onlookers could doom the couple). The picture you showed (the corna
) is threefold in Italian culture: It can be used to protect you from bad luck (there is a story about this and the late Italian President Giovanni Leone), to put it over a man's head is to show they are a cuckold (cornuto
, having the horns [There is a story about Silvio Berlusconi and this at an international conference]), or to cruse someone (though not the same as the malocchio
, though it must be pointed directly at you). To rid the curse you can touch iron (the Italian version of knocking on wood), do the corna
, or, if you are a guy, grab your genitals (though seen as vulgar, it is especially common amongst older men).
The origins of the corna
are either Greek or Roman, I am not exactly sure. The origins of the malocchio
are not exactly known since it is well known all over the Med area, though it is believed to have come from Asia Minor/Near East.