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The Calabria Region of Italy

Location:

Calabria is the southernmost region of Italy, sometimes referred to as the “toe of the boot”. In antiquity it was know as Bruttium. To the north is the province of Basilicata; Sicily is located south-west, and the west is bounded by the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Ionian Sea is on the eastern boundary.


Climate:

The Calabrian climate is definitely of the Mediterranean type. The eastern coast along the Ionian sea is warmer and dryer than the western Tyrrhenian coast, and is the hottest area on the peninsula. In the central part of the province towards the Sila mountains, various microclimates that promote a wild diversity of vegetation.


Geography:

Calabria is located at the "toe" of the Italian peninsula on a strip of land 240 km long and 32 km wide at its most narrow point. The most unusual thing about Calabria is its exceptionally rugged geography. Looking at its position on the map, you expect an arid, desert-like southern state; but the Apennine mountains extend all the way down the Italian peninsula and out onto Sicily. The mountains seem to be bunched up like a sock in the toe of the Italian boot. 90% of its territory is mountainous and its highest peak is Serra Dolcedorme, part of the Pollino massif (2,267 m): the coastline measures 800 km. 10% of all the land surface in Calabria can be called "plains," and the center of the region is dominated by a thickly forested range known as the Sila.



History:

Calabria is one of the oldest regions of Italy. The first evidence of human habitation dates as far back as 700,000BC. Around 3500 BC the first villages in Calabria appeared. By the eighth century BC, Calabria became a very important area for Magna Grecia under Greek control. It was later conquered by the Romans in the second century BC, and after the collapse of the Roman Empire the region was dominated by the Goths, the Byzantines and later the Longobards around the ninth century BC. In the early tenth century the Byzantines again controlled the region and expanded the existing monarchy thus helping to reunite the region. The Normans and Swedes also tried to rule Calabria around the twelfth century BC. Calabria was made whole and became part of the larger region of Italy around 1860. Today Calabria is an important southern Italian province.


Culture:

The culture of Calabria became richer and more diverse with each new invasion. The invasive influence impacted the foods, cooking style, artistic expression, architecture, religious doctrine and formed thinking of the people of Calabria. The culture was felt differently depending on which area of the region we are examining. The Greeks and Saracens heavily influenced Southern areas while in the northern areas there was a decided Spanish influence. Today's influx of immigrants from northern Africa and Albania, assure that the culture continues to evolve. The Calabrese people are noted for being exceptionally hospitable, yet extremely stubborn, or "capotosto"(hard headed), as we prefer to say.


The Official Calabria Region Site