Infobox Region of Italy
name = Calabria
fullname = Regione Calabria
isocode = | capital =
status = Region
province = 5
municipality = 409
arearank = 10th
area = 15,081
areapercent = 5.0
population_as_of = 2006 est.
populationrank = 10th
population = 2,007,707
populationpercent = 3.4
populationdensity = 133
demonym = Calabrese
Latin: Brutium), is a region in southern Italy, south of Naples, located at the "toe" of the Italian peninsula. It is bounded to the north by the region of Basilicata, to the south-west by the region of Sicily, to the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea, and to the east by the Ionian Sea. The region covers 15,080 km² and has a population of 2 million. The regional capital is the city of Catanzaro. The other two main cities are Reggio Calabriaand Cosenza. The demonym of Calabria is Calabrian (Italian: "calabrese").
Calabria is a narrow peninsula extending into the
Mediterraneanfor three hundred kilometres. It is located at the toe of the "boot" between the Tyrrhenian Seato the west and the Ionian Seaand Gulf of Tarantoto the east. It is separated from Sicilyby the Strait of Messina, where the narrowest point between Capo Peloro in Sicily and Punta Pezzo in Calabria is only 3.2 km."' Although the sea seems ever present in Calabria, it is mainly a mountainous region. Three mountain ranges are present: Pollino, the Sila, and Aspromonte. All three mountain ranges are unique with their own flora and fauna.
Pollino Mountainsin the north of the region are rugged and form a natural barrier separating Calabria from the rest of Italy. Parts of the area are heavily wooded, while others are vast, wind-swept plateaus with little vegetation. These mountains are home to a rare Bosnian Pinevariety, and are included in the Pollino National Park. La Silais a vast mountainous plateau, about 1,200 metres above sea level, which stretches for nearly 2,000 square kilometres along the central part of Calabria. The highest point is Botte Donato, which reaches 1,928 metres. The area boasts numerous lakes and dense coniferous forests.
The peninsula narrows at the
Savuto rivervalley, which starts in the Sila and extends to the Gulf of Sant'Eufemia.
Aspromontemassif forms the southernmost tip of the Italian peninsula bordered by the sea on three sides. This unique mountainous structure reaches its highest point at Montalto Uffugo, at 1,995 metres, and is full of wide, man-made terraces that slope down towards the sea.
In general, most of the lower terrain in Calabria has been agricultural for centuries, and exhibits indigenous scrubland as well as introduced plants such as the
prickly pear cactus(it: "Fico d'India"). The lowest slopes are rich in vineyards and citrus fruit orchards. Moving upwards, olives and chestnut trees appear while in the higher regions there are often dense forests of oak, pine, beech and fir trees.
Calabria is a land of contrasts, in many respects, with below zero temperatures in the mountains in winter and temperatures sometimes over 40°C in the summer along low valley areas. The climate is typically Mediterranean (
Köppen climate classificationCSa), except at the highest elevations (DSa, DSb) and the more arid eastern stretches along the Ionian Sea.
Calabria is divided into five provinces:
Calabria was first settled by Italic Oscan-speaking tribes. Two of these tribes included the Oenotri (roughly translated into the "vine-cultivators") and the Itali. Greek contact with the latter resulted in the entire peninsula (modern Italy) taking the name of the tribe.
Greeks settled heavily along the coast at an early date and several of their settlements, including the first Italian city called "Rhegion" (
Reggio Calabria), and the next ones Sybaris, "Kroton" ( Crotone), and Locri, were numbered among the leading cities of Magna Graeciaduring the 6th and 5th centuries BC. Conquered by the Romans in the 3rd century BC, the region never regained its former prosperity.
The Greeks were conquered by the 3rd century BC by roving Oscan tribes from the north, including a branch of the
Samnitescalled the Lucaniansand an offshoot of the Lucanians called the Bruttii. The Bruttii established the main cities of Calabria, including the modern capital, Cosenza(then called Consentia).
After the fall of the Roman Empire the inhabitants were in large part driven inland by the spread of
Malariaand, from the early Middle Ages until the XVII century, by pirate raids. Calabria was devastated during the Gothic War before it came under the rule of a local "dux" for the Byzantine Empire. In the 9th and 10th centuries, Calabria, which had been the rich breadbasket of Rome before Egypt was conquered, was the borderland between Byzantine rule and the Arab emirs in Sicily, subject to raids and skirmishes, depopulated and demoralized, with vibrant Greek monasteries providing fortresses of culture.
In the 1060s the
Normans, under the leadership of Robert Guiscard's brother Roger, established a presence in this borderland, and organized a government along Byzantine lines that was run by the local Greek magnates of Calabria. In 1098, Pope Urban IInamed Roger the equivalence of an apostolic legate later formed what became the Kingdom of Sicily. The administrative divisions created in the late medieval times were maintained right through to unification: "Calabria Citeriore" (or Latin Calabria) in the northern half and "Calabria Ulteriore" (or Greek Calabria) in the southern half.
Beginning with the subsequent Angevin rule, which ruled Calabria as part of the
Kingdom of Naples, Calabria was ruled from Naplesright up until unification with Italy. The kingdom came under many rulers: the Habsburgdynasties of both Spainand Austria; the Franco-Spanish Bourbon dynasty which created the Kingdom of Two Sicilies, Napoleon's brother Joseph Bonaparte, and then French Marshal Joachim Murat, who was executed in the small town of Pizzo. Calabria experienced a series of peasant revolts as part of the European Revolutions of 1848. This set the stage for the eventual unification with the rest of Italy in 1861, when the Kingdom of Napleswas brought into the union by Giuseppe Garibaldi. The Aspromontewas the scene of a famous battle of the unification of Italy, in which Garibaldi was wounded.
'Ndranghetaorganized crime families of Calabria began to appear in 1860; they now rival in power the better known Cosa Nostraof nearby Sicily, though they operate completely independently from the Sicilians and are especially active in the cocainetrade.
Until the mid 20th C.,
Southern Italywas among the poorest regions of Europeand impoverished Calabria was a main source for the Italian diasporaof the early 1900s. Many Calabrians moved to the industrial centres of northern Italy, the rest of Europe, Australiaand the Americas(especially Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and the United States). Since the 1970s there has been an increased affluence and a much improved economy based on modern agriculture, tourism, and a growing commercial base. Even though the per capita income is still well below that of northern and central Italy, it has improved to the point where it is approaching the European Unionmedian. [ [http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/pls/portal/docs/PAGE/PGP_PRD_CAT_PREREL/PGE_CAT_PREREL_YEAR_2006/PGE_CAT_PREREL_YEAR_2006_MONTH_05/1-18052006-EN-AP.PDF Eurostat 2006] ]
Towns of Calabria with a population of 50,000 or more:
The following table indicates the population by province:
Resident population as of
1 January 2005, source [http://demo.istat.it/ Istat]
Tourism in Calabria has increased over the years. The main tourist draws in Calabria are the coastline and the mountains. The coastline alternates between rugged cliffs and sandy beaches, and is sparsely interrupted by development when compared to other European seaside destinations. The sea around Calabria is clear, and there is a good level of tourist accommodation. The poet
Gabriele D'Annunziocalled the coast facing Sicily near Reggio Calabria "...the most beautiful kilometer in Italy" ("il più bel chilometro d'Italia"). The primary mountain tourist draws are Aspromonteand La Sila, with its national park and lakes. Some other prominent destinations include:
Catanzaro, is also called "the city between the two seas" because it is located at the centre of the narrowest point of Italy, from where the Ionian Sea and Tyrrhenian Sea are both visible. Of note are the cathedral, the castle, the promenade on the Ionian sea, the park of biodiversity and the archaeological park scolacium.
Reggio Calabria, on the strait between the mainland and Sicily, the largest and oldest city in Calabria, renowned for its fabulous panoramic seaside with botanical gardens between the art nouveaubuildings and the beautiful beaches, and its 3,000 years of history with the old Aragonian Castle and the great National Museum of Magna Greciawhere the famous Riace Warriors(Bronzi di Riace) are located.
Cosenza, seat of the Cosentian Academy, is renowned for its cultural institutions, the old quarter, a Romanesque Cathedral and a SwabianCastle.
Sybaris, on the Ionian sea, is a village situated near the excavation of ancient "Sybaris", a Greek colony of the VII century B.C.
* Scilla, on the
Tyrrhenian Sea, "pearl" of the "Violet Coast", has delightful panorama, important religious traditions, and is the site of some of Homer's tales.
Tropea, on the Tyrrhenian Seacoast, is a beautiful town, with a drammatic seaside beach, and the Santa Maria dell'Isola sanctuary. It is also renowned for its sweet red onions(mainly produced in Ricadi).
Capo Vaticanoon the Tyrrhenian Sea, is a very famous wide bathing place near Tropea.
Sidernoon the Ionian Seacoast.
Gerace, near Locri, is a beautiful medieval city with a Norman castle and an ancient cathedral.
Squillace, a seaside resort and important archeological site
Stilo, the home of Tommaso Campanella, with its Norman castle and beautiful Byzantine church, the "Cattolica".
* Pizzo, on the
Tyrrhenian Seacoast, known for its ice cream called "Tartufo". Interesting places in Pizzo are Piazza Repubblica and the Aragonian castle where Murat was murdered.
Soveratoon the Ionian Sea, Also known as the "Pearl" of the Ionian Sea. Especially renown for its beaches, boardwalk and nightlife.
Nicoteraon the Tyrrhenian Sea, is a beautiful little medieval Town with an ancient Ruffo's castle.
*ancient tempels of the roman gods on the sun kissed hills of
catanzarostill stand as others are sweped beneath the earth manny excavations are going on the east cost digging up what seems to be an ancient burial ground
Although the official national language of Calabria has been Standard Italian since before unification in 1861, as a consequence of its deep and colourful history, Calabrian dialects have developed that have been spoken in the region for centuries. Most linguists divide the various dialects into two different language groups. In the northern one-third of the region, the Calabrian dialects are considered a dialect of the
Neapolitan languagecalled Northern Calabrian or "Cosentino". In the southern two-thirds of the region, the Calabrian dialects are considered part of the Sicilian languageand are often grouped as Southern Calabro.
Other historical languages have left an imprint on the region. In isolated pockets, as well as some quarters of Reggio Calabria (historical stronghold of the Greek language in Italy), a hybrid language that dates back to the 9th century, called
Griko, is spoken. A variety of Occitancan also be found in certain communities and French has had an influence on many Calabrian words and phrases. In several villages, the Arbëresh dialect of the Albanian languagehas been spoken since a wave of refugees settled there in the 15th century. In addition, since Calabria (as well as other parts of southern Italyand Sicily) were once ruled by the Spanish, some Calabrian dialects clearly exhibit Spanish influences.
It is important to highlight the presence of Calabrians in
Humanismand in the Renaissance. Indeed the Hellenistics in this period frequently came from Calabria maybe because of the Greek influence. The rediscovery of Ancient Greek was very difficult because this language had been almost forgotten. In this period the presence of Calabrian humanists or refugees from Constantinople was fundamental. The study of Ancient Greek, in this period, was mainly a work of two monks of the monastery of Seminara: Barlaam, bishop of Gerace, and his disciple, Leonzio Pilato. Leonzio Pilato, in particular, was probably a Greek Calabrian born near Reggio Calabria. He was an important teacher of Ancient Greek and translator, and he helped Giovanni Boccaccioin the translations of Homer's works.
*The majority of Calabrians are
*In the southern areas, there are some
Byzantine Orthodoxcongregations in the Albanian communities.
*There is a small community of Italian
Anusimof have begun to embrace the Jewishfaith of their ancestors. [ [http://www.jewishroots.it/] ]
Essentially a typical southern Italian,
Mediterranean cuisinewith a balance between meat-based dishes (pork, lamb, goat), vegetables (especially eggplant), and fish. Pasta (like in most parts if Italy) is also very important in Calabria. In contrast to most other Italian regions, Calabrians have traditionally placed an emphasis on the preservation of their food, in part because of the climate and potential crop failures. As a result, there is a tradition of packing vegetables and meats in olive oil, making sausages and cold cuts ( Sopressata, ' Nduja), and, along the coast, curing fish- especially swordfish, sardines ("sardelle rosamarina") and cod ( Baccalà). Local desserts are typically fried, honey-sweetened pastries ("Cudduraci", "scalille" or "scalidde") or baked biscotti-type treats (such as "'nzudda").
Some local specialties include
CaciocavalloCheese, " Cipolla rossa di Tropea" (red onion), "Frìttuli" or "Curcùci" (fried pork), Liquorice("liquirizia"), "Lagane e Cicciari (ceci)" (a pasta dish with chickpeas), Pecorino Crotonese(Cheese of Sheep), and Pignolata.
Although Calabrian wines are not well known outside Italy, in ancient times Calabria was referred to as "Enotria" (from
Ancient Greek"Οἰνωτρία" - " Oenotria", "land of wine"). According to ancient Greek tradition, "Οἴνωτρος" (" Oenotrus"), the youngest of the sons of Lycaon, was the eponymousof Oenotria [ [http://www.theoi.com/Text/Pausanias8A.html Pausanias, Description of Greece, Arcadia, 8.3.5, at Theoi Project] ] . Some vineyards have origins dating back to the ancient Greek colonists. The best known DOC wines are Cirò ( Province of Crotone) and Donnici( Province of Cosenza).
Barlaam of Seminara(scholar and clergyman of the 14th century)
Cassiodorus(Roman statesman and great writer, 6th century)
Gianni Amelio(film director.)
Albert Anastasia(New York Cosa Nostra boss, 1902-1957)
Anaxilas of Rhegium(tyrant of Rhegium, 5th century BC)
Umberto Boccioni(painter and sculptor)
Tommaso Campanella(philosopher, 1568-1639)
Alfonso Rendano(pianist and composer, 1853-1931)
Francesco Cilea(opera composer)
Alessandro Longo(composer and musicologist)
* Francesco Cozza (artist)
Pietro Negroni(painter, 1505-1565)
Renato Dulbecco(Virologist - Nobel laureate)
Joachim da Fiore/ Gioacchino da Fiore(philosopher)
Pasquale Galluppi(19th C. philosopher)
Elisabetta Gregoraci(model and TV personality)
Pope John VII
Ibycus(Greek lyric poet)
Aloysius Lilius(created the Gregorian Calendar)
Milo of Croton(Ancient Greek athlete)
Giuseppe Musolino(outlaw/ folk hero)
Nossis(Greek epigrammist, 300 BC)
Guglielmo Pepe(19 C. Italian patriot)
Giovanni Dionigi Galeni(Ottoman chief admiral, 16th century)
Leonzio Pilato(14th C. humanist)
Pythagoras(mathematician and philosopher)
Mattia Preti(17th C. artist)
Humilis of Bisignano(saint, b. 1582 - d. 1637)
Saint Nilo of Rossano(b. 910 - d. 1005)
Saint Francis of Paola(b. 1416 – d. 1507)
Antonio Serra(late 16th century writer)
Baldassarre Squitti(Teacher of Law, and politician)
Mimmo Rotella(20th C. artist)
Nicola Calipari(Italian military intelligence officer)
* Fulco Ruffo di Calabria (WWI Ace Pilot)
Gianni Versace(fashion designer)
Donatella Versace(fashion designer)
Girolamo de Rada(Albanian-Italian Writer)
Buenos Aires, Argentina[List of twin towns and sister cities of Buenos Aires]
* [http://www.circolocalabrese.org/ Calabria's History, Culture, Language and Genealogy]
* [http://www.bressifoods.com/ A Tribute to Calabrian Foods and History]
* [http://www.regione.calabria.it/ Official Region homepage]
* [http://turismo.regione.calabria.it/ Official Region tourist information]
* [http://www.recil.net/ Web Portal of Calabria in the World]
* [http://www.kal.it/ KALìt Calabria in testa!]
* [http://www.territoriodellamemoria.it/ Travel Itineraries: The territory of the Memory]
* [http://www.calabriaonline.com/ The first web portal about Calabria]
* [http://www.giovanilocride.net/ Youth Association of Locri]
* [http://www.calabrialiving.com/ Living in Calabria - A Guide 2008]
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