Calabria (Italian pronunciation: [kaˈlaːbrja]; Calàbbria in
Calabrian; Calavría in Calabrian Greek; Καλαβρία in Greek;
Kalavrì in Arbëresh/Albanian), known in antiquity as Bruttium, is a
region in Southern Italy.
The capital city of
Calabria is Catanzaro. The Regional Council of
Calabria is based at the
Palazzo Campanella in the city of Reggio
Calabria. The region is bordered to the north by the Basilicata
Region, to the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea, and to the east by the
Ionian Sea. The region covers 15,080 km2 (5,822 sq mi)
and has a population of just under 2 million. The demonym of
Calabria is calabrese in Italian and Calabrian in English.
In ancient times the name
Calabria referred, not as in modern times to
the toe, but to the heel of Italy, from Tarentum southwards, a
region nowadays known as Salento.
5.2 Middle Ages
5.3 Early modern period
7 Infrastructure and transport
9 Government and politics
9.1 Sister jurisdictions
10 Administrative divisions
14 Notable people
15 See also
17 Further reading
18 External links
Starting in the third century BC, the name
Calabria was originally
given to the
Adriatic coast of the
Salento peninsula in modern
Apulia. In the late first century BC this name came to extend to
the entirety of the Salento, when the Roman emperor
Italy into regions. The whole region of
Apulia received the name Regio
Apulia et Calabria. By this time modern
Calabria was still known as
Bruttium, after the
Bruttians who inhabited the region. Later in the
seventh century AD, the
Byzantine Empire created the Duchy of Calabria
Salento and the Ionian part of Bruttium. Even though the
Calabrian part of the duchy was conquered by the
Longobards during the
eighth and ninth centuries AD, the Byzantines continued to use the
Calabria for their remaining territory in Bruttium.
The modern name
Italy derives from Italia, which was first used as a
name for the southern part of modern Calabria. Over time the
Greeks started to use it for the rest of the southern Italian
peninsular as well. After the Roman conquest of the region, the name
was used for the entire Italian peninsula and eventually the Alpine
Cliff at Tropea
Pollino National Park
La Sila National Park
Calabria, photography taken from the ISS
The region is generally known as the “toe” of the “boot” of
Italy and is a long and narrow peninsula which stretches from north to
south for 248 km (154 mi), with a maximum width of
110 km (68 mi). Some 42% of Calabria's area, corresponding
to 15,080 km2, is mountainous, 49% is hilly, while plains occupy
only 9% of the region's territory. It is surrounded by the Ionian and
Tyrrhenian seas. It is separated from
Sicily by the Strait of Messina,
where the narrowest point between
Capo Peloro in
Sicily and Punta
Calabria is only 3.2 km (2 mi).
Three mountain ranges are present: Pollino,
La Sila and Aspromonte.
All three mountain ranges are unique with their own flora and fauna.
Pollino Mountains in 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 Pine variety, and are included in the
Pollino National Park.
La Sila, which has been referred to as the "Great Wood of
Italy", is a vast mountainous plateau about 1,200 metres
(3,900 feet) above sea level and stretches for nearly 2,000 square
kilometres (770 square miles) along the central part of Calabria. The
highest point is Botte Donato, which reaches 1,928 metres (6,325
feet). The area boasts numerous lakes and dense coniferous forests. La
Sila also has some of the tallest trees in
Italy which are called the
"Giants of the Sila" and can reach up to 40 metres (130 feet) in
Sila National Park
Sila National Park is also known to have the
purest air in Europe.
Aspromonte massif 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, at 1,995 metres
(6,545 feet), 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. The lowest
slopes are rich in vineyards and citrus fruit orchards. The Diamante
citron is one of the citrus fruits. 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's climate is influenced by the sea and mountains. The
Mediterranean climate is typical of the coastal areas with
considerable differences in temperature and rainfall between the
seasons, with an average low of 8 °C (46 °F) during the
winter months and an average high of 30 °C (86 °F) during
the summer months. Mountain areas have a typical mountainous climate
with frequent snow during winter. Erratic behavior of the Tyrrhenian
Sea can bring heavy rainfall on the western slopes of the region,
while hot air from Africa makes the east coast of
Calabria dry and
warm. The mountains that run along the region also influence the
climate and temperature of the region. The east coast is much warmer
and has wider temperature ranges than the west coast. The geography of
the region causes more rain to fall along the west coast than that of
the east coast, which occurs mainly during winter and autumn and less
during the summer months.
Geotectonic map of the Central Mediterranean Area and the Calabrian
Arc. The blue trace indicates the position of the geotectonic cross
section depicted below. From van Dijk (1992)
Geotectonic Cross Section of the Calabrian Arc. Left: NW; Right: SE.
From van Dijk (1992)
When describing the geology of Calabria, it is commonly considered as
part of the "Calabrian Arc", an arc-shaped geographic domain extending
from the southern part of the
Basilicata Region to the northeast of
Sicily, and including the Peloritano Mountains (although some authors
extend this domain from
Naples in the North up to
Palermo in the
Southwest). The Calabrian area shows basement (crystalline and
metamorphic rocks) of
Paleozoic and younger ages, covered by (mostly
Neogene sediments. Studies have revealed that these rocks
comprise the upper Unit of a pile of thrust sheets which dominate the
Apennines and the Sicilian Maghrebides.
Neogene evolution of the Central Mediterranean system is dominated
by the migration of the Calabrian Arc to the southeast, overriding the
African Plate and its promontories (Argand, 1922; Boccaletti and
Guazzone, 1972). The main tectonic elements of the Calabrian Arc
are the Southern
Apennines fold-and-thrust belt, the
"Calabria-Peloritani", or simply Calabrian block and the Sicilian
Maghrebides fold-and-thrust belt. The foreland area is formed by the
Apulia Platform, which is part of the
Adriatic Plate, and the Ragusa
or Iblean Platform, which is an extension of the African Plate. These
platforms are separated by the Ionian Basin. The Tyrrhenian oceanized
basin is regarded as the back-arc basin. This subduction system
therefore shows the southern plates of African affinity subducting
below the northern plates of European affinity.
The geology of
Calabria has been studied for more than a century. For
details concerning the older literature, i.e. from before 1973, the
reader is referred to the review of Ogniben (1973). Ippolito
(1959) presented a complete bibliography of the literature on the
Calabrian geology as published up until that moment. Books, reviews
and important "mile¬stones" concerning the geology of the Calabrian
Arc are the following: Cortese (1895), Limanowski (1913),
Quitzow (1935), Caire et al. (1960), Caire (1961),
Grandjacquet et al. (1961), Ogniben (1969, 1973 ), Caire
(1970, 1975, 1978 ), Burton (1971), Amodio-Morelli et
al. (1976), Dubois (1976), Grandjacquet and Mascle (1978),
Moussat (1983), van Dijk (1992), and van Dijk et al.
(2000). The earlier works were mainly dedicated to the evolution
of the basement rocks of the area. The
Neogene sedimentary successions
were merely regarded as "post-orogenic" infill of "neo-tectonic"
tensional features. In the course of time, however, a shift can be
observed in the temporal significance of these terms, from post-Eocene
Miocene to post-middle Pleistocene.
The area is seismically and volcanically highly active. This is
generally ascribed to the re-establishment of an equilibrium after the
latest (mid-Pleistocene) deformation phase. Some authors believe that
the subduction process is still ongoing, which is a matter of debate
(van Dijk & Scheepers, 1995).
Magna Grecia around 280 BC
Calabria has one of the oldest records of human presence in Italy,
which date back to around 700,000 BC when a type of Homo erectus
evolved leaving traces around coastal areas. During the
Paleolithic period stone age man created the "Bos Primigenius", a
figure of a bull on a cliff which dates back around 12,000 years in
the Cave of Romito in the town of Papasidero. When the
Neolithic period came the first villages were founded around 3,500
Around 1500 BC a tribe called the Oenotri ("vine-cultivators"),
settled in the region. According to Greek mythology they were Greeks
who were led to the region by their king, Oenotrus. The Greeks used
the term 'italoi', which according to some ancient Greek writers was
derived from a legendary king of the Oenotri,
Italus and according to
others from the bull. Originally the Greeks used 'italoi' to indicate
Calabria and later it became synonymous with the rest of the
Calabria therefore was the first region to be called Italia
During the eighth and seventh centuries BC, Greek settlers founded
many colonies (settlements) on the coast of southern
Calabria they founded Chone (Pallagorio), Cosentia
(Cosenza), Clampetia (Amantea),
Hipponion (Vibo Valentia),
Locri Epizefiri (Locri), Kaulon
Krimisa (Cirò Marina), Kroton (Crotone),
of Santa Maria del Cedro),
Metauros (Gioia Tauro),
Petelia (Strongoli), Rhégion (Reggio Calabria),
Temesa (Campora San Giovanni), Terina (Nocera Terinese), Pandosia
(Acri) and Thurii, (Thurio, comune of Corigliano Calabro).
Rhegion was the birthplace of one of the famed nine lyric poets,
Metauros was the birthplace of another of the nine lyric
poets, Stesichorus, who was the first lyric poet of the western world.
Kroton spawned many victors during the ancient Olympics and other
Panhellenic Games. Amongst the most famous were Milo of Croton, who
won six wrestling events in six Olympics in a row, along with seven
events in the Pythian Games, nine events in the Nemean Games and ten
events in the Isthmian Games and also Astylos of Croton, who won six
running events in three Olympics in a row. Through Alcmaeon of
Croton (a philosopher and medical theorist) and
mathematician and philosopher), who moved to Kroton in 530 BC, the
city became a renowned center of philosophy, science and medicine. The
Sybaris created "Intellectual Property."  Sybaris
benefited from "vinoducts" which were a series of pipes that carried
wine to the homes of its citizens. The Sybarite founded at
least 20 other colonies, including Poseidonia (
Paestum in Latin, on
the Tyrrhenian coast of Lucania),
Laüs (on the border with Lucania)
Scidrus (on the Lucanian coast in the Gulf of Taranto). Locri
was renowned for being the town where
Zaleucus created the first
Western Greek law, the "Locrian Code"  and the birthplace of
ancient epigrammist and poet Nossis.
The Itali were the first established people of Calabria. Later came
Bruttii from Lucania. These occupied
Calabria and called it
Bruttii were very advanced culturally. The Greek cities
Calabria came under the pressure from these Lucanians, an Oscan
people who lived in the present day region of Basilicata. They
conquered the north of
Calabria and pushed further south, taking over
part of the interior, probably after they defeated the Thurians near
Laus in 390 BC. A few decades later
Calabria came under pressure from
the Bruttii. They were Lucanian slaves and other fugitives who were
seeking refuge on the steep mountains of Calabria. Their name was
Lucanian and meant rebels. They took advantage of the weakening of the
Greek cites caused by wars between them. They took over Hipponium,
Terina and Thurii. They helped the
Lucanians to fight Alexander of
Epirus (334–32 BC), who had come to the aid of Tarentum (in Apulia),
which was also pressured by the Lucanians. After this, Agathocles of
Syracuse ravaged the coast of
Calabria with his fleet, took Hipponium
and forced the
Bruttii into unfavourable peace terms. However, they
soon seized Hipponium again. After Agathloces' death in 289 BC the
Bruttii pushed into the territory of
Thurii and ravaged
it. The city sent envoys to Rome to ask for help in 285 BC and 282 BC.
On the second occasion, the Romans sent forces to garrison the city.
This was part of the episode which sparked the Pyrrhic war.
During the Pyrrhic War (280–275 BC) the
with Pyrrhus and provided contingents which fought with his army. When
Pyrrhus landed in
Italy the people of
Rhegion were worried about their
safety and asked Rome for protection. The Romans sent soldiers from
Campania to garrison the city. Coveting the wealth of the city, the
soldiers killed its prominent men, sent away the rest and seized their
property. The Romans could not do much about it because they were
engaged in the war. A few years after the end of the war, in 271 BC,
the Romans retook the city, arrested the soldiers and took them to
Rome, where they were executed. After Pyrrhus was defeated, to
avoid Roman revenge, the
Bruttii submitted willingly and gave up half
of the Sila, a mountainous plateau which was valuable for its pitch
and timber. The timber here was sold all over
Italy and the resin of
the area was of the highest quality.
During the Second Punic War (218–201 BC) the
Bruttii allied with
Hannibal, who sent Hanno, one of his commanders, to Calabria. Hanno
Capua (in Campania) with Bruttian soldiers to take
them to Hannibal's headquarters there twice, but he was defeated on
both occasions. When his campaign in
Italy came to a dead end,
Hannibal took refuge in Calabria, whose steep mountains provided
protection against the Roman legions. He set up his headquarters in
Kroton and stayed there for four years until he was recalled to
Carthage. The Romans fought a battle with him near Kroton, but its
details are unknown. Many Calabrian cities surrendered. Calabria
was put under a military commander. Nearly a decade after the war, the
Romans set up colonies in Calabria: at Tempsa and Kroton (Croto in
Latin) in 194 BC, Copiae in the territory of
Thurii (Thurium in Latin)
in 193 BC, and
Vibo Valentia in the territory of
Hipponion in 192
BC. The Romans called
Calabria Bruttium. Later, during the reign
Augustus it became part of the third region of Italy, the 'Regio
III Lucania et Brettium.
After sacking Rome in 410, Alaric I (King of the Visigoths) went to
Calabria with the intention of sailing to Africa. He contracted
malaria and died in Cosentia (Cosenza), probably of fever. Legend has
it that he along with the treasure of Rome were buried under the bed
of the River Busento. With the fall of the western part of the
Italy was taken over by the
Ostrogoths and became part
Ostrogothic Kingdom in the late fifth century. During the sixth
century, under the Ostrogoths,
Cassiodorus emerged as one of the most
prominent men of his time. He was an administrator, politician,
scholar and historian who was born in
Scylletium (near Catanzaro). He
spent most of his career trying to bridge the divides of East and
West, Greek and Latin cultures, Romans and Goths, and official
Christianity and Arian Christianity, which was the form of
Christianity of the
Ostrogoths and which had earlier been banned. He
set up his Vivarium monastery (monastery school) in Scylletium. He
oversaw the collation of three editions of the Bible in Latin. Seeing
the practicality of uniting all the books of the Bible in one volume,
he was the first who produced Latin Bibles in single volumes. The
most well-known of them was the
Codex Grandior which was the ancestor
of all modern western Bibles.
Cassiodorus was at the heart of the administration of the Ostrogothic
kingdom. Theodoric made him quaestor sacri palatii (quaestor of the
sacred palace, the senior legal authority) in 507, governor of Lucania
and Bruttium, consul in 514 and magister officiorum (master of
offices, one of the most senior administrative officials) in 523. He
was praetorian prefect (chief minister) under the successors of
Theodoric: under Athalaric (Theodoric's grandson, reigned 526–34) in
533 and, between 535 and 537, under Theodahad (Theodoric's nephew,
reigned 534–36) and Witiges (Theodoric's grandson-in-law, reigned,
536–40). The major works of Cassiodorus, besides the mentioned
bibles, were the Historia Gothorum, a history of the Goths, the Variae
and account of his administrative career and the Institutiones
divinarum et saecularium litterarum, an introduction to the study of
the sacred scriptures and the liberal arts which was very influential
in the Middle Ages.
Byzantine (Eastern Roman) emperor Justinian I, retook
Italy from the
Ostrogoths. They soon lost much of
Italy to the Lombards, but they
retained the south, where they thrived. In
Calabria and towns such as
Rossano achieved great religious status. From the 7th
Century many monasteries were built in the Amendolea and Stilaro
Stilo was the destination of hermits and Basilian monks.
Byzantine churches are still seen in the region. The
10th-century church in
Rossano is considered one of the best preserved
Byzantine churches in Italy. It was built by St.
Nilus the Younger
Nilus the Younger as
a retreat for the monks who lived in the tufa grottos underneath. The
present name of
Calabria comes from the duchy of Calabria.
Around the year 800, Saracens began invading the shores of Calabria,
attempting to wrest control of the area from the Byzantines. This
group of Arabs had already been successful in
Sicily and knew that
Calabria was another key spot. The people of
Calabria retreated into
the mountains for safety. Although the Arabs never really got a
stronghold on the whole of Calabria, they did control some villages
while enhancing trade relations with the eastern world. In 918,
Saracens captured Reggio (which was renamed Rivà) and sold the
majority of its population in the slave markets of
Sicily and North
Africa. It is during this time of Arab invasions that many staples
of today's Calabrian cuisine came into fashion: citrus fruits and
eggplants for example. Exotic spices such as cloves and nutmeg were
In the 1060s the
Normans from their duchy in France, under the
leadership of Robert Guiscard's brother, Roger I of Sicily,
established a presence in this borderland, and organized a government
modeled on the Eastern
Roman Empire and was run by the local magnates
of Calabria. Of note is that the
Normans established their presence
here, in southern
Italy (namely Calabria), 6 years prior to their
conquest of England, see The Battle of Hastings, a fact that has been
totally missed in many history texts. The purpose of this strategic
Calabria was to lay the foundations for the Crusades 30
years later, and for the creation of two Kingdoms: the Kingship of
Jerusalem, and the Kingdom of Sicily. Ships would sail from Calabria
to the Holy Land. This made
Calabria one of the richest regions in
Europe as princes from the noble families of England, France and other
regions, constructed secondary residences and palaces here, on their
way to the Holy Land. Guiscard's son Bohemond, who was born in San
Marco Argentano, would be one of the leaders in the first crusade.
In 1098, Roger I of
Sicily was named the equivalent of an apostolic
legate by Pope
Urban II and later his son Roger II of
the first King of
Sicily and formed what would become the Kingdom of
Sicily which lasted nearly 700 years. Under the
Normans Southern Italy
was united as one region and started a feudal system of land ownership
in which the
Normans were made lords of the land while peasants
performed all the work on the land.
In 1194 the Swabians took control under Frederick II, Holy Roman
Emperor. He created a kingdom that blended cultures, philosophy and
customs and would build several castles while fortifying existing ones
Normans previously constructed. After the death of Frederick
II in 1250,
Calabria was controlled by the French once more, the
Angevins, under the rule of Charles d’Anjou after being granted the
crown by Pope Clement IV. Under Charles d’Anjou the Kingdom of
Sicily was changed to the Kingdom of
Naples in 1282 after he lost
Sicily due to the rebellion of the Sicilian Vespers. During the
14th century, would emerge
Barlaam of Seminara
Barlaam of Seminara who would be Petrarch's
Greek teacher and his disciple Leonzio Pilato, who would translate
Homer's works for Giovanni Boccaccio.
Early modern period
In 1442 the Aragonese took control under
Alfonso V of Aragon
Alfonso V of Aragon who
became ruler under the Crown of Aragon. In 1501
Calabria came under
the control of
Ferdinand II of Aragon
Ferdinand II of Aragon who is famed for sponsoring the
first voyage of Christopher Columbus in 1492.
greatly under Aragonese rule with heavy taxes, feuding landlords,
starvation and sickness. After a brief period in the early 1700s under
the Austrian Hapsburgs,
Calabria came into the control of the Bourbons
in 1735. It was during Spanish rule that
Calabria would contribute
to modern world history with the creation of the
Gregorian calendar by
the Calabrian doctor and astronomer Luigi Lilio.
In 1563 philosopher and natural scientist
Bernardino Telesio wrote "On
the Nature of Things according to their Own Principles" and pioneered
early modern empiricism. He would also influence the works of Francis
Bacon, René Descartes, Giordano Bruno,
Tommaso Campanella and Thomas
Hobbes. In 1602 philosopher and poet Tommaso Campanella
wrote his most famous work, "The City of the Sun" and would later
defend Galileo Galilei during his first trial with his work "A Defense
of Galileo", which was written in 1616 and published in 1622. In
1613 philosopher and economist
Antonio Serra wrote "A Short Treatise
on the Wealth and Poverty of Nations" and was a pioneer in the
At the end of the 18th century the French took control and in 1808
Napoleon Bonaparte gave the Kingdom of
Naples to his brother-in-law
Joachim Murat. Murat controlled the kingdom until the return of the
Bourbons in 1815.
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 Naples
was brought into the union by Giuseppe Garibaldi. The unification was
orchestrated by Great Britain in an attempt to nationalize the
production of sulfur from the two volcanoes located in
Sicily respectively. The
Aspromonte was the scene of a famous battle
of the unification of Italy. During the late 19th or early 20th
century, pianist and composer
Alfonso Rendano invented the "Third
Pedal", which augmented the interpretative resources of the piano.
The ancient Greek colonies from
Naples and to the south, had been
completely Latinized, but from the fifth century AD onward Greeks had
once again emigrated there when pressed out of their homeland by
invasions. This Greek
Diaspora allowed the ancient Greek dialects to
continue in Southern Italy, much in the same way that the Italian
Diaspora allowed long-lost dialects from
Italy to thrive in countries
Italians emigrated to. Greek texts were also valued in
monasteries and places of learning. However it was
Charlemagne in the
8th century, who made Latin the 'official' language of study and
communication for Europe. For the sake of uniformity, he supplanted
much of the Greek spoken, read or taught in Europe. It was through
language (Latin) and education (Latin texts) that
During the 13th century a French chronicler who traveled through
Calabria stated that "the peasants of
Calabria spoke nothing but
Greek" given he had traveled to areas where Greek was still available.
But the educated classes spoke Italian. Indeed, formal Italian has
been taught in schools throughout
Italy for nearly two centuries,
causing the ancient languages and dialects to continually disappear,
much to the chagrin of the cultural community. These lost dialects
continue to thrive to this day in North America and Australia, places
Italians emigrated to, on account of the Diaspora.
Calabria enjoys a diversified economy comparable to western nations in
various categories, as shown in these statistics: the Gross Domestic
Product (GDP) of
Calabria is subdivided as follows: service industry
(28.94%), financial activities and real estate (21.09%), trade,
tourism, transportation and communication (19.39%), taxation (11.49%),
manufacturing (8.77%), construction (6.19%) and agriculture (4.13%).
It is one of the least (resort) developed regions in Italy. Its
economy is hampered by corruption, tax evasion and organized crime
which is mainly run by the
'Ndrangheta (the local
the latter has deep connections with some of the local
Food and textile industries are the most developed and vibrant. Within
the industrial sector, manufacturing contributes to a gross value
added of 7.2%. In the manufacturing sector the main branches are
foodstuff, beverage and tobacco with a contribution to the sector very
close to the national average. Over the recent decades have
emerged some petrochemical, engineering and chemical industries,
within the areas of Crotone,
Vibo Valentia and Reggio Calabria.
Ski trails near
Gambarie overlooking the Strait of Messina
Calabria attracts year-round tourism, offering both summer and winter
activities, in addition to its cultural, historical, artistic
heritage, it has an abundance of protected natural habitats and
'green' zones. The 485 miles (781 kilometres) of its coast make
Calabria a popular tourist destination during the summer. The low
industrial development and the lack of major cities in much of its
territory have allowed the maintenance of indigenous marine life.
The most sought-after seaside destinations are: Tropea, Pizzo Calabro,
Capo Vaticano, Reggio Calabria, Soverato, Scilla, Scalea, Sellia
Marina, Montepaone, Montauro, Copanello (comune of Staletti), Tonnara
di Palmi, Diamante, Paola, Fiumefreddo Bruzio, Amantea, Praia a Mare,
Belvedere Marittimo, Roseto Capo Spulico, Corigliano Calabro, Cirò
Marina, Amendolara, Roccella Ionica, Bagnara Calabra, Nicotera,
Cariati, Zambrone, Isola di Capo Rizzuto, Caminia (comune of
Staletti), Siderno, Parghelia,
Ricadi and San Nicola Arcella.
In addition to the coastal tourist destinations, the interior of
Calabria is rich in history, traditions, art and culture.
among the most important cultural cities of Calabria, with a rich
historical and artistic patrimony. Medieval castles, towers, churches,
monasteries and other French castles and structures from the Norman to
the Aragonese periods are common elements in both the interior and
coastline of Calabria.
The mountains offer skiing and other winter activities: Sila, Pollino
Aspromonte are three national parks that offer facilities for
winter sports, especially in the towns of Camigliatello (comune of
Spezzano della Sila), Lorica (comune of San Giovanni in Fiore),
Gambarie and Monte Sant'Elia (comune of Palmi).
Calabrian olive tree plantations
A typical feature is agricultural richness in Calabria. The region
boasts the second highest number of organic farmers only after
Sicily. The olive tree, representing 29.6% of UAA and represents
approximately 70% of tree crops. The region is the second-highest
for olive oil production. The
Bergamot orange is intensively
cultivated, since the 18th century, exclusively in coastal area
nearby to Reggio, where it found its optimal geological and weather
conditions: essence oil from Calabrian Bergamot reach the best quality
in the world.
Calabria is also the largest producer of Porcini
Mushrooms in Italy.
Infrastructure and transport
The seaport of Gioia Tauro
The main Calabrian ports are in Reggio and in Gioia Tauro. The Reggio
port is equipped with five loading docks of a length of 1,530 metres
(5,020 feet). The
Gioia Tauro port has seven loading docks with an
extension of 4,646 metres (15,243 feet); it is the largest in Italy
and the seventh largest container port in Europe, with a 2007
throughput of 3.7 million TEUs from more than 3,000 ships.
The region is served by three heavily used roads: two national
highways along the coasts (SS18 Napoli-Reggio and SS106
Reggio-Taranto) and the A2 motorway, which links
Salerno and Reggio,
Cosenza along the old inland route.
Calabria there are two main airports: one is situated in Reggio, a
few kilometres from city centre, built in 1939 is chronologically the
first airport in Calabria; another is located in Lamezia Terme
municipality area, currently being the first airport in Calabria
concerning the number of passengers per year.
Source: ISTAT 2001
The following is a list of Calabrian municipalities with a population
of over 20,000:
Reggio Calabria – 186,013 inhabitants
Catanzaro – 93,265
Lamezia Terme – 71,123
Cosenza – 69,827
Crotone – 61,529
Corigliano Calabro – 40,533
Rossano – 38,280
Rende – 35,352
Vibo Valentia – 33,857
Castrovillari – 22,518
Acri – 21,263
Montalto Uffugo – 20,553
Government and politics
Main article: Politics of Calabria
State of West Virginia, United States.
Calabria is divided into five provinces:
Province of Cosenza
Province of Reggio Calabria
Province of Catanzaro
Province of Crotone
Province of Vibo Valentia
The Riace bronzes, Greek bronzes, about 460–430 BC
Byzantine church known as the Cattolica
Calabria has increased over the years. The main tourist
attractions 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'Annunzio called
the coast facing
Reggio Calabria "... the most beautiful
kilometer in Italy" (il più bel chilometro d'Italia). The
primary mountain tourist draws are
Aspromonte and La Sila, with its
national park and lakes. Some other prominent destinations include:
Reggio Calabria is on the strait between the mainland and Sicily, the
largest and oldest city in
Calabria dating from the 8th century BC,
renowned for its panoramic seaside with botanical gardens between the
art nouveau buildings and the beautiful beaches, and its 3,000 years
of history with its Aragonese Castle and the Museo Nazionale della
Magna Grecia where the famous
Riace bronzes (Bronzi di Riace) are
Cosenza, birthplace of scientist and philosopher Bernardino Telesio
and seat of the Cosentian Academy, renowned for its cultural
institutions, the beautiful old quarter, a Hohenstaufen Castle, an
open-air museum and an 11th-century Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral. On 12
October 2011, the Cathedral of
Cosenza received UNESCO World Heritage
status for being "Heritage Witness to a Culture of Peace".
This is the first award given by UNESCO to the region of Calabria.
Scilla, on the Tyrrhenian Sea, "pearl" of the "Violet Coast", has a
delightful panorama and is the site of some of Homer's tales.
Tropea, on the
Tyrrhenian Sea coast, is home to a dramatic seaside
beach, and the Santa Maria dell'Isola sanctuary. It is also renowned
for its sweet red onions (mainly produced in Ricadi).
Capo Vaticano, on the Tyrrhenian Sea, is a very famous wide bathing
place near Tropea.
Gerace, near Locri, is a beautiful medieval city with a Norman Castle
and Norman Cathedral.
Squillace, a seaside resort and important archaeological site. Nearby
is the birthplace of Cassiodorus.
Stilo, the birthplace of philosopher Tommaso Campanella, with its
Norman Castle and beautiful
Byzantine church, the Cattolica.
Pizzo Calabro, on the
Tyrrhenian Sea coast, known for its ice cream
called "Tartufo". Interesting places in Pizzo are Piazza Repubblica
and the Aragonese castle where Murat was shot.
Paola, a town situated on the
Tyrrhenian Sea coast, renowned for being
the birthplace of St. Francis of Paola, patron saint of
Italian sailors, and for the old Franciscan sanctuary built during the
last hundred years of the Middle Ages by the will of St. Francis.
Sibari, on the Ionian coast, a village situated near the
archaeological site of the ancient city of Sybaris, a Greek colony of
the 8th century BC.
Lamezia Terme, the main transportation hub of the region with its
international airport which links it to many destinations in Europe
plus Canada and Israel and the train station. Several are the
historical sights of the city, like the Norman-Swabian castle, the
Jewish historical quarter and the Casa del Libro Antico (House of the
Ancient Book) where books from the 16th to the 19th centuries, as well
as old globes and ancient maps reproduction are well preserved and
available to be seen by the public.
Catanzaro, an important silk center since the time of the Byzantines,
is located at the centre of the narrowest point of Italy, from where
Ionian Sea and
Tyrrhenian Sea are both visible, but not from
Catanzaro. Of note are the well-known one-arch bridge (Viaduct
Morandi-Bisantis, one of the tallest in Europe), the Cathedral
(rebuilt after World War II bombing), the castle, the promenade on the
Ionian sea, the park of biodiversity and the archaeological park.
Soverato on the Ionian Sea, also known as the "Pearl" of the Ionian
Sea. Especially renowned for its beaches, boardwalk and nightlife.
Soverato is a well-preserved medieval hilltop village
with 13 churches. It was selected as one of the 1000 marvels of Italy
to mark the anniversary of the unification of Italy. It is
increasingly popular with wealthy foreigners who have renovated the
Nicotera on the Tyrrhenian Sea, is a beautiful little medieval town
with an ancient Ruffo's castle.
Ancient temples of the Roman gods on the sun-kissed hills of Catanzaro
still stand as others are swept beneath the earth. Many excavations
are going on along the east coast, digging up what seems to be an
ancient burial ground.
Samo, a village on the foot of the Aspromonte, is well known for its
spring water and ruins of the old village destroyed in the 1908
Mammola, art center, tourist and gastronomic, boasts an ancient
history. Well worth a visit, the old town, with its small houses
attached to each other, the ancient churches and noble palaces. Of
particular interest is the Museum Park Santa Barbara, a place of art
and cultural events of many international artists and the Shrine of
St. Nicodemo of the 10th century, in the highlands of Limina. Its
renowned gastronomy with the "Stocco" typical of Mammola, cooked in
various ways, other typical products are smoked ricotta and goat
cheese, salami pepper and wild fennel, bread "pizza" (corn bread) and
wheat bread baked in a wood oven.
Praia a Mare
Praia a Mare on the Tyrrhenian Sea, is a well-known tourist city,
thanks to the Isola di Dino and the seaside beach.
Main article: Calabrian languages
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. The Calabrian language is a
direct derivative of the Latin language, and is closer to the words
spoken in Latin than the standard Italian. Most linguists divide the
various dialects into two different language groups. In the northern
one-third of the region, the Calabrian dialects are considered part of
Neapolitan language (or Southern Italian) and are grouped as
Northern Calabrian or Cosentino. In the southern two-thirds of the
region, the Calabrian dialects are often grouped as Central and
Southern Calabrian. In many respects, the Calabrian dialect is
considered very similar to the Puglian/Salentine dialects spoken in
Salento, the region situated on the "heel" of Italy. However, in
isolated pockets, as well as some quarters of
Reggio Calabria a
Occitan can also be found in certain communities and French
has had an influence on many Calabrian words and phrases. In addition,
Calabria was once ruled by the Spanish, some Calabrian dialects
exhibit Spanish derivatives.
See also: History of the
Jews in Calabria
Cathedral of Reggio Calabria
The majority of Calabrians are Roman Catholic. There are also
communities of Evangelicals in the region.
Calabria has also been
called "The Land of Saints" as the region was the birthplace of many
saints spanning nearly 2,000 years. The most famous
Calabria and also the patron saint of the region is St.
Francis of Paola.
Calabria also has another patron saint called Saint
Bruno of Cologne
Bruno of Cologne who was the founder of the
Carthusian Order. Saint
Bruno would build the charterhouse of Serra San Bruno, a town which
bears his name, in 1095 and later die there in 1101.
Even though it is currently a very small community, there has been a
long history of the presence of
Jews in Calabria. The
Jews have had a
presence in the region for at least 1600 years and possibly as much as
2300 years. Calabrian
Jews have had notably influence on many areas of
Jewish life and culture. Although virtually identitical to the
Calabria are considered a distinct Jewish
population due to historical and geographic considerations. There is a
small community of Italian
Anusim who have resumed the Jewish
It is important to highlight the presence of Calabrians in Renaissance
humanism and 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 a Calabrian born near Reggio Calabria. He was an
important teacher of
Ancient Greek and translator, and he helped
Giovanni Boccaccio in the translations of Homer's works.
See also: Calabrian wine
The cuisine is a typical southern Italian
Mediterranean cuisine with a
balance between meat-based dishes (pork, lamb, goat), vegetables
(especially eggplant), and fish. Pasta (as in Central
Italy and the
rest of Southern 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 and packing
vegetables and meats in olive oil. Also making sausages and cold cuts
(Sopressata, 'Nduja, Capocollo), along the coast curing fish –
especially swordfish, sardines (sardelle rosamarina) and cod
(Baccalà). Local desserts are typically fried, honey-sweetened
pastries Cudduraci, Nacatole, Scalille or scalidde or baked
biscotti-type treats (such as 'nzudda).
Some local specialties include
Caciocavallo Cheese, Cipolla rossa di
Tropea (red onion),
Curcùci (fried pork), Liquorice
Lagane e Cicciari (a pasta dish with chickpeas),
Pecorino Crotonese (Cheese of Sheep), and Pignolata.
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 eponym of Oenotria. Some vineyards
have origins dating back to the ancient Greek colonists. The best
known DOC wines are Cirò (Province of Crotone) and
of Cosenza). 3% of the total annual production qualifies as DOC.
Important grape varieties are the red
Gaglioppo and white Greco. Many
producers are resurrecting local, ancient grape varieties which have
been around for as long as 3000 years.
Lamezia Terme International Airport (Airport IATA code: SUF)
Reggio Calabria Airport (Airport IATA code: REG)
Crotone Airport (Airport IATA code: CRV)
Gioia Tauro (the busiest container port in
seventh-busiest in mainland Europe)
Port of Reggio
Port of Reggio Calabria
Port of Vibo Valentia
Port of Villa San Giovanni
Port of Corigliano Calabro
Port of Crotone
Calabria has the two highest bridges in Italy
Sfalassa Viaduct (also the highest and longest span frame bridge in
There are 3 public universities in the region of Calabria
University of Calabria
University of Calabria (Cosenza)
Magna Graecia University (Catanzaro)
Mediterranea University of Reggio Calabria
There is also the private University for Foreigners "Dante Alighieri"
in Reggio Calabria.
Main article: List of people from Calabria
Duke of Calabria
1783 Calabrian earthquakes
1908 Messina earthquake
Strait of Messina
Strait of Messina Bridge
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Coordinates: 38°55′N 16°36′E / 38.917°N 16.600°E /