From the neighbouring villages, the inhabitants of Porto S. Stefano are often addressed as "Nasopeloso!" (English nose hair) or "Sarracchiaio!", from italian Sarracchio, English Rope grass.
Most people don't know that these two nicknames, a good-natured ribbing from the neighbors, have a common origin that gives them meaning and are far from being offensive.
The "Sarracchio", (its scientific name is Ampelodesmos mauritanicus, from Greek ampelos=vine and desmos=bond) is a plant with hard and sharp leaves, (another common name is "Tagliamano", hand-cut) that grows on the Promontory in arid and rocky soil.
Farmers used its leaves to tie up the vine plants or the picked vegetables, and at the start of XIX° century, the Sarracchio leaves were used to produce fishing lines and cordage.
The inhabitants of Porto S. Stefano were very skilled in this art and when in 1814, a cordage cargo ship, sailing from Gaeta to Porto S. Stefano sunk after being attacked by pirates, they did not lose heart and started braiding the rope grass dried leaves to make ropes. This was the beginning of a small-scale manufacturing industry, which employed more than 150 local families.
The only drawback of Sarracchiaio was that the ropes soon frayed and the local boats bowsprits, seen from distance, looked like long nose hair. So, when arriving in other harbours the sailors caught sight of the boats from Porto S. Stefano and mocked, shouting out: "Look, here come the nose hairs!"

Francesca Birardi, Doctor in Physical Sciences, environmental guide
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