"Ever since the 1500s, and for hundreds of years after, the only people who used @ were bookkeepers, who used it as a shorthand to show how much they were selling or buying goods for: for example, '3 bottles of wine @ $10 each.'
Since these bookkeepers used @ to deal with money, a certain degree of whimsical fondness for the character developed over time. In Danish, the symbol is known as an ‘elephant’s trunk a’; the French call it an escargot. It’s a streudel in German, a monkey’s tail in Dutch, and a rose in Istanbul. In Italian, it’s named after a huge amphora of wine, a liquid some Italian bookkeepers have been known to show a fondness for."