Calabria, Italy

Calabria is an Italian region with ordinary statute in southern Italy of 1 841 300 inhabitants, with capital Catanzaro.

It borders to the north with Basilicata, to the south-west the Strait of Messina separates it from Sicily and is washed by the Ionian Sea to the east and by the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west.

The term Italia originates in Calabria, with which the ancient Greeks once referred to the isthmus of Catanzaro. Inhabited since the Paleolithic, thanks to its strategic position in the center of the Mediterranean it has seen the flourishing of numerous cultures: Enotria, Bruzia, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Norman. The Greek one represents the period of maximum splendor for Calabria, with the foundation starting from the eighth century BC. of numerous cities that will be for centuries among the richest and most culturally advanced of their time, constituting the fulcrum of the territory subsequently renamed Magna Grecia by the Roman conquerors.

In Roman times it was part of Regio III Lucania et Bruttii, a region of Augustan Italy. After the Greek-Gothic war it became and remained for five centuries a Byzantine dominion, fully recovering its Hellenic character on a linguistic, religious and artistic level. Cenobitism flourishes, with the rise throughout the territory of countless churches, hermitages and monasteries in which the Calabrian-Greek Basilian monks dedicate themselves to transcription. Starting from the Byzantine period, Calabria became the most important area in Europe for the production and processing of silk. In the 11th century, the advent of the Normans kicked off a slow process of Latinisation of the region, which began to follow the fate of the rest of the South: it would be part of the Kingdom of Sicily, the Kingdom of Naples and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies , before converging into united Italy.

In the area of Bovesìa there are still Greek-speaking communities, a local variant of the Greek language. In the central-northern part of the peninsula there are numerous municipalities speaking the Arbëreshe language, a local variant of the Albanian language. There is also an Occitan-speaking minority in Guardia Piemontese.


Territories and tourist destinations

Costa dei Gelsomini — Marina di Riace, Locri, Roccella Ionica and Marina di Gioiosa Ionica.
Costa Viola — The southernmost coast of the previous one, which goes from Palmi to Villa San Giovanni (also includes Seminara, Bagnara Calabra and Scilla).
Costa degli Dei — stretch of the Tyrrhenian coast that goes from Pizzo Calabro to Nicotera, passing through Tropea and Capo Vaticano.
Crotone - Includes the territory of the city of Crotone and the stretch of Ionian coast around Isola di Capo Rizzuto, a popular seaside resort.
Costa degli Aranci — The stretch of coast on the Gulf of Squillace, with Soverato and Badolato Marina; falls largely in the Catanzaro area.
Costa degli Achei - The major seaside resort is Sibari near the ruins of the ancient Greek colony. The massif of Monte Pollino which marks the border with Basilicata constitutes, like the Sila, a national park.
Riviera of the Cedars
Cosentino — Cosenza has been on the list of cities of art since 2003. Riviera dei Cedri is a tourist term to indicate the Tyrrhenian coast whose major centers are Praia a Mare and Amantea.
Sila - Plateau divided between the provinces of Cosenza, Crotone and Catanzaro, whose major tourist center is Camigliatello Silano.
Calabrian greenhouses
Aspromonte - mountain massif at the southern end of the boot set up as a nature reserve; the ski resort of Gambarie is located there.
Reggino — The territory that includes Reggio Calabria and Villa San Giovanni.
Plain of Gioia Tauro



Reggio di Calabria
Lamezia Terme

Corigliano Calabro

Vibo Valentia


Other destinations

Aragonese Castle


How to get here

By plane
Lamezia Terme Airport — Flights from other Italian destinations are operated by Ryanair, EasyJet, Ita Airways, TAP.
Reggio Calabria Airport — The companies Ita Airways (Milan-Linate, Rome-Fiumicino, Turin, Venice), Blu-express (Milan-Linate, Rome-Fiumicino), Volotea (Genoa, Venice) operate here.
Crotone airport — Third most important regional airport, mainly serving the province of Crotone, as of 2018 it has summer connections with cities in central-northern Italy.

Airports outside the region that allow you to arrive in Calabria:
Catania-Fontanarossa Airport — 10 km from Catania on the A19, national, international and low cost hub flights and charter flights.
Naples-Capodichino Airport — Allows arrival, continuing by car, bus or train, even from intercontinental destinations.
Bari-Palese Airport — Useful for those who want to get to the Ionian coast, much more inconvenient instead for those who need to get to the Tyrrhenian Calabria.

By car
The A2 Mediterranean Salerno-Reggio Calabria motorway is the main road artery of the region, a natural extension of the Autostrada del Sole, connecting Calabria with the rest of Italy.

For access to the northern Tyrrhenian coast and as an alternative route to the A3 towards southern Calabria, there is the SS18 "Tirrena Inferiore" state road, which can be combined with the A3 via the Noce valley road.

On boat
The port of Reggio Calabria is connected to Messina by frequent ferries and hydrofoils. It is also connected with Taormina, the Aeolian Islands and Malta.

Catanzaro, Palmi, Tropea and Cirò Marina have tourist ports.

On the train
There are no high-speed railway lines in Calabria. The Tyrrhenian side is crossed by the double track line that connects Naples (and beyond) with Sicily. There are 4 daily Intercity between Reggio Calabria and Rome, some InterCity Notte connecting Calabria with the North and one Intercity Reggio Calabria - Milan (travel south on Saturday, travel north on Sunday), 4 daily Frecciargento Reggio Calabria - Rome and some Frecciarossa and Italo Reggio Calabria - Turin trains; journey times are, respectively, 7 hours for the IC Reggio Calabria - Rome and about 5 for the Frecciargento, while journeys to the North generally take more than ten hours. The connections for Cosenza (from Paola) and Catanzaro (from Lamezia Terme) are quite comfortable.

The other railway lines in Calabria are slower; work is underway on the upper part of the Ionian line (the section is being electrified up to the Catanzaro Lido station), while in the lower part only non-electric trains circulate with slow journey times (the line is single-track); there are no non-regional trains on the Lamezia Terme Centrale - Catanzaro Lido section, which however will be electrified in the coming years.

By bus
There are numerous bus companies that connect Calabria not only with other parts of Italy but also with international locations, both directly and through changes; Trenitalia runs a Reggio Calabria - Bari journey every night (one journey in each direction), while other companies are Lirosi Linee, Flixbus and Coiro.


Getting around

By car
Some roads of scenic interest are:
Strada della Piccola Sila (SS 109) — It goes from Lamezia Terme on the Tyrrhenian side to Cutro on the Ionian side.
Silana Crotonese (SS 107) — Connects Crotone to Paola, passing through Cosenza
Lower Tirrena (SS 18) — touches the main tourist centers of the Tyrrhenian coast.

Roads and highways
SS 106 Jonica, connects Reggio with Taranto;
SS 110 of Monte Cucco and Monte Pecoraro, which crossing some municipalities of the Calabrian greenhouses connects the Ionian coast to the Tyrrhenian coast from Monasterace to Pizzo where it joins the SS 18;
SS 182 of Serre Calabre, which connects the Tyrrhenian coast to the Ionian one from Vibo Marina passing through Vibo Valentia and ends in Soverato, where it joins the SS 106 (State road 106 Jonica);
SS 280 dei Due Mari, which joins the SS 18 from Lamezia Terme to Catanzaro;
SS 283 of the Terme Luigiane, which from Guardia Piemontese to Spezzano Albanese connects the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Ionian Sea
SS 682 Jonio-Tirreno (Gioiosa-Rosarno), which joins the A3 motorway from Rosarno to Marina di Gioiosa Ionica connecting the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Ionian Sea.

On the train
The Calabrian Railways manage some sections. The most interesting from a tourist point of view are the "Cosenza-Camigliatello-San Giovanni in Fiore" which winds along the Sila plateau and the "Cosenza-Catanzaro Lido".


What to see

1 National Museum of Reggio Calabria (Museum of the Riace Bronzes), Via de Nava 26 - Reggio Calabria. The National Museum of Magna Graecia. It houses unique finds and the famous two statues of the Riace Bronzes, among the most beautiful statues of the time for their quality workmanship and state of conservation.
2 Villa of Casignana (Roman Villa of Casignana). It is a Roman villa dating back to the 3rd / 4th century AD, one of the most extraordinary sites in southern Italy in terms of value and state of conservation. The mosaics in the spa area and those in the actual villa are among the largest in the world.

Ancient Greek art — Ancient Greek art finds its maximum expression in the famous Riace Bronzes kept in the archaeological museum of Reggio Calabria.

The civilization of Magna Graecia is attested by the archaeological sites of Sibari, Capo Colonna (Crotone) with the ruins of a temple dedicated to Hera. Caulonia in the suggestive coastal stretch of Punta Stilo on the Ionian Sea, the remains of the ancient Terina in Lamezia Terme.

Byzantine art — Rossano was the most important center of Calabria at the time of Byzantine rule. There are the church of Panagia (Madonna) from the 10th century and the Cathedral of Maria Santissima Achiropita which houses a thaumaturgical image (acheiropita means "not made by human hands). Other examples of Byzantine art are in Stilo (abbey of Giovanni Theristis and the small Cattolica), in Bivongi and in Pazzano where the church of San Salvatore is located, even older than the Cattolica di Stilo.A mention still deserves the small baptistery of Santa Severina, circular in shape and with frescoes dating back to the 10th century. -XII century.

Art of the Norman and Swabian period — San Marco Argentano, on the Sila mountains was the center where Robert Guiscard settled. The ruins of the castle and the so-called Norman Tower remain. Miletus was the county capital of Ruggero I d'Altavilla, but today it retains scarce traces of the time. The Cathedral of S. Maria Assunta of Gerace, with a Romanesque layout, is considered one of the most important Norman buildings in Calabria. Numerous abbeys were founded by religious orders invited by Count Ruggero to supplant the Eastern Orthodox rite in agreement with the pope. Among these, the Florense abbey of San Giovanni in Fiore dating back to the end of the 12th century is among the largest religious buildings in Calabria, the Certosa di Serra San Bruno, which was completely destroyed in the 1783 earthquake and rebuilt in the 19th century. Of the Norman castles, the most well-preserved is in Saracena. The castle of Nicotera was completely rebuilt in the 18th century and transformed into the summer residence of the Ruffo counts. Another castle to visit is the Norman-Swabian Castle of Lamezia Terme which was also used as a residence during his travels by Frederick II.

Art of the Angevin and Aragonese period — The cathedral of Cosenza, although restructured in the Baroque period, still retains its Gothic structure inside. The church of Santa Maria della Consolazione in Altomonte is the best example of Gothic architecture of the Angevin period. The castle of Rocca Imperiale was enlarged in 1487 by Alfonso of Aragon. The castle of Corigliano was the residence of Count Roberto Sanseverino.l

Mannerism and Baroque — Castello della Valle in Fiumefreddo Bruzio in late Renaissance style was erected in 1536. The Castle of Charles V in Crotone is of the same period, one of the most powerful military fortresses in Italy. The church of San Domenico in Taverna preserves works by Mattia Preti, one of the greatest painters of Calabria

Art of the 20th century — The main example of Art Nouveau on Calabrian soil is the facade of the cathedral of Reggio Calabria, rebuilt after the ruinous earthquake of 1908.


Churches and Monuments

Sambucina Abbey of Cosenza
Abbey of Santa Maria Corazzo in Catanzaro
Bastion of Malta in Lamezia Terme
Aragonese Castle of Reggio Calabria
Aragonese castle of Belvedere Marittimo
Castle of Caccuri
Castle of Charles V in Crotone
Castle of Cleto
Castle of Fiume Freddo Bruzio
Oriole Castle
Castle of Santa Severina
Tyrol Castle
Catholic of Stilo
Norman Castle of Cosenza
Norman Castle of Lamezia Terme
Church of Sant'Antonio Abate of San Fili
Church of San Bernardino in Amantea
Church of San Leoluca of Vibo Valentia
Church of San Pancrazio bishop and martyr of Lamezia Terme
Cathedral of Cosenza
Cathedral of Gerace
Cathedral of Reggio Calabria
Cathedral of Tropea
Cariati tectonic window
Le Castella
Sanctuary of Maria Santissima del Carmelo of Palmi
Sanctuary of San Francesco di Paola
Squillace site
Site of the Monastery of San Domenico of Soriano Calabro
Temple of Hera Lacinia Crotone
Municipal park Giuseppe Mazzini of Palmi


Events and parties

(of national or international significance)
Village Saturday. Great Culture, Great Emotions, Lamezia Terme - January - June
Reggio Calabria Film Festival, retrospective on Italian cinema - Reggio Calabria - spring
Feast of San Francesco - 2 April / 4 May (Paola)
Trame, Mafia Books Festival, Lamezia Terme - June
Magna Graecia Film Festival The festival of first works of Italian cinema - Soverato - July
Continent-Island GPS Race, windward strait crossing - international, Reggio Calabria - early August
Strait Festival - Reggio Calabria - August
Paleariza international ethno-cultural-musical traveling festival - Bovesìa - August
Roccella Jazz international jazz festival - Roccella Jonica (RC) - second half of August
Feast of San Rocco - Palmi - 16th August
Varia di Palmi - Palmi - last Sunday of August (not annual)
CletoFestival - Cleto - August
Jazz loci - Lamezia Terme - August/September
Peperoncino Festival - September (Diamond)
City of Palmi International Literary Award - Palmi - September/October
Euro-Mediterranean festival - Altomonte - August
La Guarimba International Film Festival, Amantea, edit
Color Fest - Lamezia Terme - July/August


What to do

The region is home to both the sea and the mountains, so it can be visited in both summer (beach tourism) and winter (ski tourism), with cities such as Reggio Calabria that can be visited all year round (although there are numerous bathing establishments that invite you to visit it more in the summer months); summer tourism is, however, the one that moves the largest number of people, also due to the high number of Calabrians who emigrated to other parts of Italy and abroad who return to the region for the holidays (which also leads to a greater number of events in the summer months, especially in August).

In 2020 the Ciclovia dei Parco della Calabria was inaugurated, a 545 km route between the four parks of Calabria to be covered by bicycle.



The 'nduja is a typical salami from Calabria with a particularly spicy taste. It was originally produced in the area of Spilinga, a locality in the province of Vibo Valentia, but imitations of the product, even of comparable quality, are now produced or in any case available throughout the region, to the point of making 'nduja a food typically associated with all Calabria. It is prepared with the fatty parts of the pig, adding Calabrian hot pepper and stuffed into blind casings, to then be smoked. The original is 50% pork and 50% chilli. It is eaten by spreading it on slices of toasted bread, used as a sauté for the base of tomato sauces, to garnish pizza or on slices of semi-mature cheeses.

The Soppressata: is a sausage that can boast the recognition of presidium with protected designation of origin. It is obtained with white pork cut into large pieces to which black pepper (in grains) and salt and a touch of chilli are added.

'U Morzeddhu is a typical Catanzaro dish made with veal. For a long time, between 1800 and around 1970, morzello was the snack of unskilled workers and workers. This dish is considered a true symbol of the city of Catanzaro.

The Zippula is a typical homemade product of the Province of Reggio Calabria that is prepared during the Christmas period even if it is not missing in the numerous summer village festivals. Not to be confused with the sweet Zeppola. It can be prepared with or without desalted anchovies inside.

Cuzzupa is a typical Calabrian Easter dessert, produced in the province of Reggio Calabria, in the southern part of the province of Catanzaro and in the province of Crotone. This Easter dessert is of oriental origin and symbolizes the end of the Lent fast, the egg is the symbol of the Lord's resurrection.

Pitta 'nchiusa is a sweet typical of some areas of Crotone, Catanzaro and Cosentino (especially San Giovanni in Fiore). Formed from a base of puff pastry that encloses several roses of the same pastry, filled with dried fruit and honey, soaked in cooked wine. In pastry shops, especially in areas outside the typical production areas, use the aforementioned name or that of Pitta 'mpigliata to ask for it. The simple name Pitta instead indicates a particular type of bread.

La Brasilena: sparkling non-alcoholic beverage of the coffee-based soft drink type.

Almond milk is a refreshing drink widespread in Calabria as in other southern regions.

Although there are no DOCG wines in Calabria, there are many DOC wines that are produced locally, such as: Bivongi, Cirò, Greco di Bianco, Lamezia, Melissa, Sant'Anna di Isola Capo Rizzuto, Savuto, Scavigna and Terre di Cosenza.



Calabria is a substantially safe and hospitable region, crimes against tourists are very rare and crimes that can affect them are not very common. Widespread are many stereotypes and beliefs, often untrue and in any case these should not discourage a tourist from visiting the region. Calabria has a very high seismicity and in the past there have been seismic events of magnitude greater than 6.


Physical geography

Calabria, the toe of the Italian boot, is made up of a peninsula jutting out into the Mediterranean. For this reason, the region has a coastal development of 788.92 km, along which rocky stretches, promontories, cliffs and sandy coasts alternate.

The Calabrian territory is largely occupied by mountains (Pollino, Sila, Catena Costiera, Serre and Aspromonte), which form the central backbone of the region. Therefore, only a small part of the regional surface is occupied by plains; the main ones are the Piana di Sibari, the Piana di Sant'Eufemia and the Piana di Gioia Tauro.

Two small islands also belong to Calabria, Dino (larger in size) and Cirella, both falling administratively in the province of Cosenza and bathed by the Tyrrhenian Sea. The extreme points of the region are to the north a portion of territory bordering Basilicata falling within the municipal territory of Nocara, to the east Capo Colonna, to the south Punta Palizzi and to the west the mouth of the Calopinace. Furthermore, the closest point to Sicily is Punta Pezzo, just 3.2 km away from Capo Peloro.



Calabria is made up of 49.2% of its territory by hills, 41.8% by mountains and the remaining 9% by plains.

The northernmost mountainous relief is the Pollino Massif, which has the highest peaks in Calabria, Monte Serra Dolcedorme (2,267 m) and Monte Pollino (2,248 m). Proceeding south, separated from the Pollino by the Orsomarso Mountains where the highest peak is Cozzo del Pellegrino (1,987 m), the Coastal Chain extends along the Tyrrhenian coast, whose highest peak is Monte Cocuzzo (1,541 m ).

At the center of the region rises the Sila, a vast plateau covered by large coniferous forests, whose highest peak is Monte Botte Donato (1,928 m). To the south-west, the Sila merges, through the Corace valley, with the Reventino massif (1,417 m), which overlooks the Tyrrhenian coast of Capo Suvero and the plain of Sant'Eufemia.

Between the latter plain and that of Gioia Tauro stands the Monte Poro group (710 m), the relief with the smallest dimensions in the region. Between the isthmus of Catanzaro and the pass of the Limina rise the Serre, of which the highest peak is Mount Monte Pecoraro (1,423 m). To the south, the greenhouses join the southernmost mountain range of the region, namely Aspromonte, whose highest mountain is Montalto (1,956 m).



The rivers of Calabria generally do not present a significant development, primarily due to the narrow and elongated shape of the Calabrian peninsula, and secondly due to the particular arrangement of the mountains; therefore, most of the Calabrian rivers are torrential in nature, with the exception of the Crati and the Neto - the longest rivers - which flow into the Ionian Sea. The Coscile (which originates from the Pollino massif, into which its major tributary, the Esaro), the Trionto, the Tacina and the Corace also pay tribute to the Ionian, but with a much shorter course; these latter rivers, like the Neto, arise from the Sila. The Amato and Savuto also originate from the Sila plateau, which together with the Lao which descends from the Pollino massif, are the major rivers of the Tyrrhenian side. The other watercourses are even shorter and have the typical characteristics of fiumare as they have a torrential regime, they flow embedded in narrow upstream slopes and then pour into the alluvial plains in large pebbly beds, dry for most of the year, but which can fill up suddenly during storms or heavy rains. There are also numerous lakes that are artificial, especially on the Sila plateau, the main ones being the Ampollino, the Arvo, the Cecita, the Angitola and the Passante.



When speaking of the geology of Calabria it generally refers to the Calabrian Arc, also called "Calabro-Peloritano Arc". It is a semi-circular mountain range that begins south of Basilicata and includes the northeastern sector of Sicily, with the Peloritani Mountains. The basement of Calabria consists mainly of crystalline and metamorphic rocks of the Paleozoic age, covered by successive mainly Neogenic sediments. The substrate rocks are made up of different tectonic units ("appes") superimposed on each other and on the units of the Southern Apennines and the Sicilian Maghreb.

The Neogene evolution of the Mediterranean is typical of the subduction Arc-Fossa systems, characterized by a shift of the Calabrian Arc towards the South-East in conjunction with the opening of the Tyrrhenian basin. The so-called foreland of this system consists of the Apula platform and the Ibleo or "Ragusana" platform. The Tyrrhenian Sea represents the back-arc basin of this subduction system, where the parts with African affinity subduct below the elements of European affinity (Calabrian Arc).

Calabria is a region with a high seismic hazard.



The Calabrian climate is of the Mediterranean type. The Ionian coast is drier and more arid than the Tyrrhenian one, which has a milder climate. Generally, the temperatures along the coasts never drop below 10°C and never rise above 40°C, with peaks of 42-44°C in the summer months. Along the Apennines and in the inland areas, from Pollino to the Sila up to Aspromonte, the climate is mountainous Apennine (cold continental) with cold and snowy winters, the summer is warm and there is no shortage of thunderstorms. Of note is the interesting daily temperature range, in winter, in the Crati valley, where abundant snowfalls can occur even at lowland altitudes.



The different climatic conditions of the region also favor a different vegetation from area to area. From sea level up to 600 meters (Mediterranean level) the Mediterranean maquis predominates with olive trees, holm oaks and other plants typical of the Mediterranean climate. From 700 meters up to 1000 meters (lower Apennine mountain plain), however, a transitional vegetation grows: chestnut trees and other oaks dominate. From 1000 meters upwards (mountain level) the species typical of the mountain climate dominate, made up of beech, silver fir and larch pine. On the Calabrian Serre the mountain plain begins, in some points, even at 800 meters. Worth mentioning is the "Loricato pine" (Pinus heldreichii), the undisputed symbol of the Pollino National Park: this ancient relic lives only on the Pollino, while outside the Italian territory it is found in the Balkans.


Origins of the name

In the Augustan era of the Roman Empire, the current region was known as Bruttium, by the population that inhabited it. Even earlier, around the fifteenth century BC, these lands were known by the name of Italy, from the Italian population, descendants of the Oenotrians. The Greeks indicated the origin of the name in Ouitoulía from the word "Italòi" (plural of Italós), a term with which the Achaean settlers who arrived in the lands of present-day Calabria ambiguously designated both the Vituli, a population that inhabited the lands south of the isthmus of Catanzaro, whose ethnonym was etymologically related to the word indicating the bull, an animal sacred to the Vituli and deified by them, and the bulls themselves: the Greek italós is in fact of Italic derivation, specifically it derives from the Osco-Umbrian uitlu, bull precisely (see the Latin uitellus, form with a diminutive suffix which means calf). Ouitoulía thus came to mean "land of the Vituli" or "land of the bulls". In support of this hypothesis, in the southern part of the Calabrian peninsula, where the largest Italic civilization developed, before the advent of Rome, there are toponyms of Magno-Greek origin (some translated into Latin by the Normans) probably belonging to the more ancient etymology of land of bulls (of cattle): Bova, Bovalino, Taurianova, Gioia Tauro, etc.

The name Calabria originally designated the Salento peninsula, which was included in the Augustan region Regio II Apulia et Calabria, while today's Calabria together with the current Basilicata formed the Regio III Lucania et Bruttii. But when the two peninsulas of southern Italy were unified by the Byzantines, the name of Calabria was also used to identify the region of Bruzio; subsequently, with the loss of the Byzantine possessions in Salento in favor of the Longobards, the name was used to designate only the current Calabrian peninsula, which still retains the name. During the late Middle Ages and the modern age, the term Calabria was transformed into Calabria, with the doubling of the territory into the two Neapolitan provinces of Calabria Ulteriore and Calabria Citeriore.

The name Calabria comes from Calabrī, to be compared with the Γαλάβριοι (Galábrioi) of the Balkan Peninsula (from which perhaps the ethnic Calabrī also derives). The origin seems to be a pre-Roman root *cal-/cala- or *calabra-/galabra-, which also appears in calaverna and calabrosa, as well as in calabria, the common name of the rock partridge (Lagopus muta), which would mean "rock" , "calcareous or frozen concretion". In support of this thesis Latham (1859) reports tribes of Galabri or Calabri in the eastern regions of today's Kosovo, rich in mineral deposits of gold and silver and states that Iapigi and Iapodi were contiguous to the Galabri and, "for all practical purposes" , were the same population and that "word for word" Galabri is the same as Calabri. Latham further states that in Italy there are Iapyges called Calabri, in the Balkans there are Iapodes also called Calabri. The Messapians and Calabris were also indicated with the name of Iapigi. It is therefore probable that migrants skilled in mining techniques populated the areas of southern Italy close to deposits of interest to them. Those of the Serre (Pazzano) and the very rich ones of Mount Mula (again gold and silver) were also cultivated in remote times. "Mula" is one of the many Calabrian toponyms derived from ancient Near Eastern languages.

Another hypothesis has it that the term Calabria derives instead from the ancient Greek kalón-bryōn ([earth] which gives rise to good/beauty), to indicate the fertility of its territory. For example, the sixteenth-century poet and historian Francesco Grano da Cropani refers to it in his short poem De situ laudibusque Calabriae, in which, in praising the beauties of Calabria, he also mentions the presumed existence of the aforementioned etymological origin ("[... ] if it is true that in the Greek language the term kalon means beautiful, and brio indicates gushing [...]").




The first traces of man's presence in Calabria date back to the Paleolithic as evidenced by the findings in the caves of Praia a Mare, the graffiti of the Bos primigenius of the Grotta del Romito in Papasidero, a figure of a bovid engraved in the rock 12,000 years ago, but also the mining activities in the Grotta della Monaca in Sant'Agata di Esaro. During the era of metals new populations arrived, one of the most important settlements dating back to that period is the Torre Galli complex near Vibo Valentia, moreover, near Roccella Ionica, at the end of the sixties, excavations were carried out which brought to light a necropolis dating back to the Iron Age, just as, in the 1950s, in Contrada Ronzo a Calanna, not far from the town, the necropolis of a protohistoric village dating back to the 11th-10th centuries BC was discovered. Important finds are preserved in Reggio Calabria in the National Museum of Magna Grecia. Near Girifalco, in the Carìa district, a necropolis of the Upper Neolithic was discovered during the last years of the 19th century by the historian and archaeologist Armando Lucifero in which he found the skull of Carìa.



According to the myth, Aschenez, great-grandson of Noah, Semite merchant and inventor of the rowing boat, arrived three generations after the universal flood on the shores where Reggio was founded.

Later, according to the Greek myth, about 850 years before the Trojan War, Enotrio and Peucezio (also reported as Paucezio), of Enotrian and Pelasgian lineage, originally from the Peloponnese, in Ausonia, already inhabited by the Ausoni, would have arrived there.

According to legend, Enotrio would have reigned for 71 years and on his death his son Italo would have succeeded him ("strong and wise man" according to what Dionysius of Halicarnassus narrates) who reigned over an "Italòi" population who occupied the peninsula in the area located south of the Isthmus of Catanzaro, which today are the provinces of Catanzaro, Vibo Valentia and Reggio Calabria, from which Ausonia would have taken the new name of "Italia", as reported by Thucydides ("that region was called Italy by Italo, king arcade ") and Virgil (Aeneid, III). However, we know from Dionysius of Halicarnassus (1 11.2-4; 12.1) and Diodorus Siculus that the "Ausoni" (inhabitants of Ausonia) were already settled in the Reggio area around the 16th century BC.


Italian period

Therefore, these populations (Ausoni-Enotri-Itali, of Indo-European origin, Italians belonging to the Latin-Faliscan group), would have mainly inhabited the coastal areas. The Lucanians (Italic Indo-Europeans, belonging to the Osco-Umbrian group), lived in the region which took the name of "Lucania" from them, north of Calabria. The hinterland of Calabria (later called "Bruttium" by the Romans) was mainly inhabited by the Bruzi (of warlike temperament, called Brutti or Bretti, closely related to the Lucanians) as well as by people of Iberian origin. The nerve center of this people was Consentia, the current Cosenza, which was elected by the tribes of the Bruzi, after having coalesced into a league, the "capital" of the region. It was occupied by the Romans together with the rest of Magna Graecia in 265 BC, but during the Second Punic War it rebelled against Rome to form an alliance with Hannibal, to then return under the firm control of the Roman republic after the defeat of the Carthaginian leader.


Ancient Greek period

Of fundamental importance is the landing of the Greeks on the Calabrian coasts, who snatched the lands from the Lucanians (forced to take refuge in the hinterland and in the northern part of Calabria), and mixed with the other native peoples, giving life to a mestizo culture, Greek-Italian, extremely flourishing in the following centuries. The Greeks founded thriving colonies, so magnificent that they earned the title of Magna Graecia (Great Greece), so important that, in some cases, they surpassed the motherland itself.

Between the eighth and fourth centuries BC in fact, numerous and important cities of Magna Graecia flourished along the entire coast, such as Rhegion, Kroton, Locri Epizefiri, Metauros and Sybaris, and numerous sub-colonies founded by the colonies themselves such as: Kaulon, Hipponion, Medma, Terina and Scolacium.

The history of the Magna Graecia poleis saw the cities of Reggio excel politically and economically as master of the Strait of Messina and southern Calabria, of Locri Epizephyrii in the central part of the region, and of Crotone in the northern one, in a history made up of alternating alliances and conflicts between the three powers of the region.

Subsequently, with the pressure of the Italic populations of the Bruzi and Lucani (who also conquered most of the Greek poleis), and with the advent of Rome, Magna Graecia began its decline, also due to a continuous struggle for dominance between the poleis.


Roman period

After the conquest by the Romans, in the 3rd century BC, the territories assumed the name of "Brutium" but, apart from some allied cities, therefore not subjected to the authority of Rome, a large part of the region was unable to recover the former prosperity. The Magno-Greek poleis were therefore destined to lose their power in favor of an alliance (as in the case of Reggio) or a Roman colonization (in the case of Locri Epizefiri, Crotone and the other minor cities). Colonies under Latin law were Copia in 194 BC. and Vibo Valentia deduced in 192 BC. The latter was particularly important during the 1st century BC. and in the following century, it also hosted the army and fleet of Caesar and then of Octavian, Appiano remembers it as one of the most important cities in Italy. In fact, the only stronghold of the Greek language and culture remained Reggio (among other things the seat of the Corrector, governor of the province of Lucania et Bruttii), which connected its port with Rome through the Via Popilia; cities inhabited by the Bruttii were the colonies of Cosenza, Vibo Valentia, Locri, Crotone and Sibari. Among the most important cities we find Scolacium (near the current Catanzaro) which in 507 AD. it was the seat of the Corrector (governor) of the province of Lucania et Bruttii.


Middle Ages

The Byzantine duchy
With the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Calabria was devastated by the Gothic wars, between the Goths and the Byzantines, who had the upper hand. Subsequently, due to the Lombard invasion, the Byzantines lost a large part of Italy including also part of northern Calabria, the remaining territories of Bruzio were aggregated with the lands held in Salento, forming the duchy of Calabria included in the theme of Sicily. Subsequently the Byzantine dominion in southern Italy was divided into: thema of Langobardia, with capital Bari, and, once Sicily fell into the hands of the Arabs, into thema of Calabria, with capital Reggio. The latter territory had therefore inherited the name Calabria, previously used to designate the Salento peninsula; with the expansion of the Byzantine conquests, the theme of Lucania was also organized, which included part of today's northern Calabria.

During the early Middle Ages the inhabitants were driven inland by both plagues and pirate raids, a real threat to the coastal settlements, which continued until the end of the 18th century. In fact, there were numerous hill and mountain fortifications in the Calabrian hinterland, made up of villages perched in a sufficiently backward and inaccessible position to be able to spot enemy ships in time and promptly block the access routes to inhabited centres.

Cenobitism flourished in this historical period, with the rise throughout the territory of countless churches, hermitages and monasteries in which multitudes of Calabrian-Greek Basilian monks dedicated themselves to the transcription of classical and religious texts.

In the 9th and 10th centuries, Calabria was a borderland between the Byzantines and the Arabs who settled in Sicily, who fought for a long time over the peninsula, subject to raids and skirmishes, depopulated and demoralised, but with the important Byzantine monasteries, real strongholds of the culture of the time, and homeland of many holy monks (San Nilo da Rossano, San Gregorio da Cerchiara etc.).

Under Byzantine rule, between the end of the 9th and the beginning of the 10th century, Calabria was one of the first regions of Italy to introduce silk production in Europe. According to André Guillou, mulberries for the production of raw silk were introduced to southern Italy by the Byzantines in the late 9th century. Around 1050, the theme of Calabria counted 24,000 mulberry trees grown for their leaves and their numbers tended to expand.

While the cultivation of mulberry took its first steps in the rest of Italy, the silk produced in Calabria reached a peak of 50% of the entire Italian-European production. Since mulberry cultivation was difficult in northern and continental Europe, traders bought raw materials in Calabria to finish the products and resell them at a better price. Genoese silk artisans used Calabrian silk for the production of velvets.


The Norman courts and the Kingdom of Sicily

However, the Norman Altavilla family put an end to the long Arab-Byzantine dispute. In fact, the year 1061 establishes that Calabria belongs to the Normans, divided between Robert Guiscard, Duke of Calabria, and Roger, Count of Calabria. The government thus organized was carried out by the local Byzantine magnates. The dominion was extended to Apulia and from this moment all Byzantine pertinence ended.
Roberto confirms in Reggio the capital of the Duchy of Puglia and Calabria and seat of the execution of Calabria, nominating himself duke;
In this period Cosenza became the capital and seat of the Val di Crati and Terra Giordana executioner and the residence of Ruggero II, Duke of Calabria who began the construction of the Castle.
Ruggero is instead Count of Calabria, vassal of his brother Roberto, based in Mileto.

Roberto il Guiscardo was made Duke of Apulia, Calabria and Sicily on August 23, 1059 by Pope Nicholas II with the formula: by the Grace of God and St. Peter duke of Apulia and Calabria and, if they still assist me, future Lord of Sicily.

In 1098, Pope Urban II invested Roger with the role of apostolic nuncio and the Altavillas with their dynasty became precursors of the Kingdom of Naples or Kingdom of the Two Sicilies which dominated Calabria until the unification of Italy.

From 1130 until 1194 Calabria was part of the Kingdom of Sicily under the Altavilla dynasty. The emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Henry VI, conquered the Kingdom starting the Swabian Dynasty (1194-1266), whose greatest exponent was Frederick II.

In 1147, during the Second Crusade, Roger II attacked Corinth and Thebes, two important centers of Byzantine silk production, capturing the weavers and their equipment and founding his own silk factories in Calabria.


Angevin and Aragonese period

With the conquest of the Kingdom of Sicily in 1266 by Charles I of Anjou, the Angevin domination began, with the transfer of the capital of the kingdom from Palermo to Naples. The widest diffusion of the feudal system dates from this period. Because of the revolt of the Sicilian Vespers (1282) the Kingdom of Sicily finds itself divided into two parts: the Sicilian island, in the hands of the Aragonese, and the continental part, held by the Angevins. The effective beginning of this subdivision is with the peace of Caltabellotta of 1302, when Calabria becomes part of the Regnum Siciliae citra Pharum (or Kingdom of Naples).

The Dynasty of the d'Angiò, then articulated in the Anjou-Durrase and Anjou-Valois, constituting the so-called Dynasty of the Capetians, resisted until 1442.

Meanwhile, in Catanzaro, weaving assumed considerable importance. The progress in the art of silk is witnessed by the gift of a stupendous green velvet hanging starred in gold, which the city made to Ladislao di Durazzo in 1397, in gratitude for the exemption from certain taxes on the dye works. This parade was of such merit that the king used it to have the throne room in Castel Capuano upholstered. From that moment the art progressed more and more, to the point of deserving privileges and parchments from the sovereigns.

The Dynasty of the Capetians was followed by the Trastámara d'Aragona dynasty of Naples. In 1442 Alfonso V of Aragon, conquering the territories of the Angevins, assigned the territory of Reggio to Catanzaro, since Reggio had supported his opponent Renato d'Angiò, but twenty years later in 1465 Ferdinand I of Aragon (Ferrante) reassigned the title of capital to Reggio. The Aragonese period consecrated Cosenza as the most important city of the realm in the field of law (1494-1557). After Naples it became the second city to have a cartography and in 1511 the Cosentina Academy was born, founded by Aulo Giano Parrasio and brought to its maximum splendor by Bernardino Telesio, the greatest of the illustrious inhabitants of Cosenza, defined by Francesco Bacon as the first of the new men.

In the fifteenth century, the silk industry of Catanzaro supplied almost all of Europe and was sold at large fairs to Spanish, Venetian, Genoese, Florentine and Dutch merchants. Catanzaro became the silk capital of Europe with a large silkworm farm producing all the lace and lace used in the Vatican. The city was famous for its fine manufacture of silks, velvets, damasks and brocades. In 1519, Emperor Charles V formally recognized the growth of the Catanzaro silk industry, allowing the city to set up a silk handicraft consulate, charged with regulating and controlling the various phases of a production that flourished throughout the sixteenth century.

In the 16th century, Calabria was characterized by strong demographic and economic development, mainly due to the growing demand for silk products and the simultaneous growth in prices, and it became one of the most important Mediterranean markets for silk.

In this period in Calabria the division into the two provinces of Calabria Citeriore (or Citra) and Calabria Ulteriore (or Ultra) was confirmed initially governed by a single magistrate, then from 1582 the two provinces were administered by two distinct governors:

one in Cosenza for Calabria Citeriore: the capital in the 16th century went through an impressive humanistic flowering and marked an intellectual renaissance, so much so that it was defined as the Athens of Calabria;
one in Reggio for 11 years from 1582 to 1592, then in Catanzaro for over 220 years from 1593 to 1816 for the Calabria Ulteriore. For a short time, Monteleone was also the capital of the province.


Modern period

The Kingdom of Naples itself underwent various dominations: the dynasties of the Habsburgs, Spain and Austria, the Bourbons, and for a short time a brother and a general of Napoleon, respectively Giuseppe Bonaparte and Gioacchino Murat, the latter executed in the town of Protection payment.

In 1806, reigning Giuseppe Bonaparte, Napoleon's brother, Calabria and Basilicata rose up against the Napoleonic regime, supported by the fleet and by the English troops, giving rise to the so-called Calabrian Insurrection. This, born against the French and in support of the Bourbons, lasted two years and saw among the various captains of pro-Bourbon insurgents both professional soldiers and common bandits. The repression of the anti-French movement was mainly entrusted to generals Andrea Massena and Jean Maximilien Lamarque, who managed to curb the rebellion, albeit with extremely cruel expedients, as happened for example in the so-called Lauria massacre, perpetrated by Massena's soldiers.


Last centuries

Aspromonte, a mountain region in the south of Calabria, in the province of Reggio, was the scene of a famous battle of the Risorgimento, in which Giuseppe Garibaldi was wounded. It is still possible to admire the hollow tree in which, according to tradition, Garibaldi sat down to be treated, near Gambarie, near Reggio. In this period, liberal and patriotic movements also manifested themselves in Cosenza, the best known being that of 15 March 1844 which ended with a firefight in Largo dell'Intendenza between Bourbon soldiers and 21 patriots later sentenced to death, and of whom only six were executed. The Bandiera Brothers, Venetians who came to the aid of the Calabrian brothers and were shot at the Vallone di Rovito together with 7 other officers on 25 July 1844, took their cue from this revolt. independence until the Expedition of the Thousand. Garibaldi was in Cosenza on August 31, 1860; two months later, a plebiscite established the annexation to the Kingdom of Italy.

With the Kingdom of Italy established in 1861, Calabria was administratively divided into the provinces of Catanzaro, Cosenza and Reggio, exactly marking the pre-existing provinces of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. In 1947 Calabria was one of the 19 regions (which became 20 in 1963 following the independence of Molise from Abruzzo) provided for by article 131 of the Constitution of the Italian Republic. In 1970 the Calabria Region was finally established with Catanzaro as regional capital.