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Calabria

Regione Calabria
Image:Calabrian-logo.png
Zone South Italy
Capital Catanzaro
President Giuseppe Chiaravalloti
(House of Freedoms)
Provinces Catanzaro
Cosenza
Crotone
Reggio di Calabria
Vibo Valentia
Municipalities 409
Area 15,080 km²
Population
 - Total
 - Density

2,000,000
132/km²
Image:Italy Regions Calabria 220px.png
Map higlighting the location of Calabria in Italy

A region in southern Italy, Calabria occupies the "toe" of the Italian peninsula south of Naples. It is bounded in the north by the region of Basilicata, to the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea, and to the east by the Ionian Sea. Calabria faces the island of Sicily across the Strait of Messina. The region covers 15,080 km² and has a population of 2.05 million.

The regional capital has been Catanzaro since 1970. The region is divided into five provinces: Catanzaro, Cosenza, Crotone, Reggio di Calabria and Vibo Valentia . Although Catanzaro is its administrative capital, Reggio di Calabria, former capital, still hosts the regional Parliament. The capital changement has been matter of important riots in Reggio di Calabria in 1970.

Calabria was originally inhabited by a variety of Italic tribes, cousins of the Latins who populated Rome. Greek traders encountered one of these tribes, the Itali, and gave their name to the entire peninsula. Thus, in many ways, Calabria was the first "Italy."

As "Magna Graecia" Calabria was an important centre of Greek civilisation before the rise of the Roman Empire. Crotone was the home of Pythagoras, the father of geometry. Calabrian most famous Greek sculptures, the 5th century brones of warriors, the "Bronzi di Riace" are now hosted in Reggio Calabria. Greek civilation was already on the wane when other Italic tribesmen, the Lucanians and Brutti, began pouring into Calabria. These tribes, close relatives of the Samnites, founded many of the Calabrian cities still extant today.

After several wars with rival Italian tribes, Calabria became thoroughly Romanized, through population by Roman soldier-colonies. Many Romans, including Cicero, had vacation homes in Vibo Valentia. Calabria was for many years part of the Roman Empire and after its fall, 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, dopopulated and demoralized, with vibrant Greek monasteries providing fortresses of culture. In the 1060s Normans, under the leadership of Robert Guiscard's brother Roger established a presence in this borderland, organized a government along Byzantine lines that was run by the local Greek magnates of Calabria. In 1098, Pope Urban II bestowed on Roger the equivalence of an apostolic legate and the Hauteville clan formed the precursors of the Kingdom of Naples which in one form or other ruled Calabria until the unification of Italy. This kingdom itself came under many rulers: the Hapsburg dynasties of both Spain and Austria; the French Bourbon dynasty, and briefly Napoleon's general Murat, who was executed in the small town of Pizzo .

Throughout all this, Calabria remained a very rural and exploited region. The Aspromonte , a mountainous region of central Calabria, was the scene of a famous battle of the Risorgimento (unification of Italy), in which Garibaldi was wounded. Several of the important philosophers of the Risorgimento (namely, Bernardino Telesio from Cosenza, Gioacchino da Fiore from San Giovanni in Fiore , Tommaso Campanella from Stilo ) came from Calabria, and famous Americans of Calabrian descent are almost too numerous to name.

Calabria is also the home of a small Griko-speaking community in Bovesia, the region otherwise known as Grecìa Calabra. Also there are many small towns where Albanian is still the main language.

Organized crime (namely, ndrangheta) used to be quite strong in Calabria for many decades, but seems to be waning.

The seawater around Calabria is very clear, and there is a good level of tourist accommodation. The poet Gabriele d'Annunzio called the seafront at Reggio "The most beautiful kilometer in Italy".

Important tourist sites

  • Tropea, on the Tyrrhenian Sea coast, is a beautiful city, with a nice seaside, renowned for its sweet onions.
  • Siderno, on the Ionian Sea coast, has good hotels.
  • Gerace , near Locri, is a beautiful medieval city, with a norman castle, an ancient Cathedral, etc
  • Stilo , the home of Tommaso Campanella, with a Norman castle and a beautiful Byzantine church, the Cattolica

Universities

  • UniversitÓ della Calabria , hosted in Rende.
  • UniversitÓ degli Studi Magna Grecia di Catanzaro , hosted in Catanzaro.
  • UniversitÓ degli Studi Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria , hosted in Reggio Calabria.

Main Soccer Teams


Regions of Italy Flag of Italy
Regular Regions
Abruzzo | Basilicata | Calabria | Campania | Emilia-Romagna | Lazio (Latium) | Liguria | Lombardia (Lombardy) | Marche | Molise | Piemonte (Piedmont) | Puglia (Apulia) | Toscana (Tuscany) | Umbria | Veneto |
Regions with special autonomous status
Friuli-Venezia Giulia | Sardegna (Sardinia) | Sicilia (Sicily) | Trentino-Alto Adige (Trentino-South Tyrol) | Valle d'Aosta (Aosta Valley)



Last updated: 02-08-2005 13:53:41
Last updated: 02-24-2005 14:41:11