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About Calabria


Washed by two seas, the Ionian and the ​Tyrrhenian  and fringed by an  extraordinarily beautiful coastline with pure white beaches and jagged cliffs dotted with grottos, Calabria  can justly be called mountainous , with its imposing mounts Pollino, Sila and Aspromonte. 


 
But at the same time , it is a region of fertile plains, especially Sibari, Gioia Tauro  and Sant'Eufemia. A land of sun and sea , but its higher elevations may be blanked by with snow during the winter.

It is a Mediterranean  region, but has dense woods. So even in geographical terms , it is immediately clear that it is practically impossible to definitely  describe Calabria. 
A fascinating land that over the centuries has attracted people and conquerors from a wide variety of places.

 
 Historical notes

It has been said that Calabria wrote a chapter in world history with the  arrival of the first Greek colonies (8th century BC).

Indeed the founding of Locri, Crotone, Sibari, Reggio, Caulonia, and many other minor colonies on the Tyrrhenian coast marked the birth of a great civilization whose grandeur is clearly evident in the numerous finds kept throughout the territory in various museums and in the Archeological Museum of Reggio Calabria in particular. 

 

The Magna Graecia  civilization experienced its greatest development around the 3rd century BC, producing men known throughout the world such as Pythagoras, Milo, Zaleucus, Nosside, Timeo , Ibico and others.
 

The end of this "golden age" coincided with the victory of Pyrrhus in 275 BC and the arrival of the Romans.
Left are few traces of Roman rule.

The Capua-Reggio road was built in 132 BC and efforts were made to improve the Calabrian road network toward Sicily. 


By the Middle Ages, the Byzantine and Goths had spread Christianity to the area. The Byzantine (535) had a profound effect on Calabrese culture, creating an evocative corner of the Orient, particularly along the Calabria Ionian coast.
 

This period witnessed the revival of important centers such as Rossano, Santa Severina, Stilo and Gerace which today houses treasures and works of art and are noted for their fascinating architecture.
 
The 6th and 7th centuries witnessed the arrival of the so called Basilians, monks from Asia Minor, fleeing from Muslim persecution.

The Basilians have the merit of having saved manuscripts, sacred images, works of art and having preserved the Greek-Byzantine tradition.
They often lived in caves and concealed dwellings hidden from the Muslims who, while not occupying the region, terrorized coastal villages with sudden and bloody raids.
 
 
 
The Turkish presence heavily influenced settlements along the coast and had repercussions on the daily life of the local population.
Indeed popular tradition often recalls the theme of the cruelty of the Muslim invaders.

The year 1049 marked the beginning of the Norman presence.
It was the beginning of Calabrian feudalism which was to continue with the Angevins when the barons secured even more power.
While the great monarchies were developing in Europe, Calabria witnessed the crumbling of the unitary state that Frederick the 2nd had drawn up.
The Aragonese domination began with the conquest of the Kingdom of Naples  by Alfonso of Aragon (1442) and was characterized by the internal struggles among the barons and between the Aragonese and the Angevins.


 
The fundamental problems of the south probably originated from this unfavorable background: the division of power among many avaricious barons and the inability of central power to assert itself increasing the distance between central government and Calabria.

The Neapolitan domination, tolerated by the population who preferred the tyranny of a sovereign to the more insistent oppression of the local barons seemed destined to last over a lengthy period of time.
The Neapolitan state was responsible for a number of important industrial initiatives in metallurgy sector
(Mongiana) and the textile industry .

 
The 1783 earthquake and the enormous contribution of engineers from half of Europe in the rebuilding of those effected areas, brought Calabria once again to the world's center stage but the glorious era of civic splendor linked to the Magna Graecia was a distant memory.

Just when it seemed that everything was to remain as it was in a  state of ultra conservatism , the effect of 1848 , with the idea of a new Liberalism and the Italian Risorgimento also reached this parts .

Italy Unification : The secret Carbonari political society spread everywhere. However, the idea of "unity" was to bring further disappointment for Calabresi and South Italy in general. 
It was in this period that another sad and bloody page was added to the history of Calabria. 

A period that witnessed the atrocity and ferociousness perpetrated on the people of  Calabria by the Piedmont Army.


Afterward there was a lengthy period of neglect on the part of the new Italian State until the 1950s when the Cassa per il Mezzoggiorno  initiated a development program for the South which was to have inconsistent results in the following decades.
 

The construction of 
the ​motorway
Salerno-Reggio Calabria
between 1960 and 1970 , although decisive for regional unity, was to become a symbol of an inept and corrupt Government.
It was the big construction companies from the north who really benefited from such program.

 
Also decisive was the the founding of the University of Calabria  at Cosenza and the Faculty of  Architecture at Reggio together with the most important factor, the beginning of the political and administrative activity of the Regional body.

 
 
In 1970 these events were overshadowed by the revolt in Reggio di Calabria following the nomination of Catanzaro as the administrative centre of the region, although it was actually the consequence of more concrete and long standing reasons affecting all Calabresi: chronic unemployment and therefore the lack of future prospective.

The deaths and the intervention of the army during those days confirmed the failure of the policies of the political parties.

Calabria was first settled by Italic Oscan-speaking tribes.
Two of these tribes were the Oenotrians (roughly translated into the "vine-cultivators") and the Itali. 


Greek contact with the latter resulted in Calabria taking the name of the tribe and was the first region to be called Italy (Italia).




Greeks settled heavily along the coast at an early date and several of their settlements, including the first Italian city called Rhégium (Reggio di Calabria), and the next ones Sybaris, Kroton (Crotone), a settlement where the mathematician Pythagoras later resided, and Locri, were numbered among the leading cities of Magna Graecia during the 6th and 5th centuries BC.
 




Bronzes of Riaci



Pinax in terracotta.
Locri Museum



Necropili Lucifero
​Side A & B
Locri Museum





Albidona  Tower



Fiuzza Tower



Villa Caristo



Razzona Castle



Hermitage
Santa Maria della Stella



La Castella


 
The language
The primary languages of the Calabria region are standard Italian and many regional varieties of the Italo-Dalmatian group collectively known as Calabrian (Italian: calabrese). 
In addition, there is a significant Calabrian version of the Griko language and pockets of Occitan and Arbëresh.
  
Central and 
Southern Calabrian:
 
 
The areas where Central - Southern Calabrian (calabbrìsi) is spoken corresponds generally to the provinces of Reggio Calabria, Vibo Valentia, Catanzaro and the southern part of Crotone (Crotone, Isola di Capo Rizzuto, Cutro and vicinity).
 
 
Southern and Central Calabria dialects are strongly influenced by a Greek substratum and ensuing levels of Latin influence and other external Southern Italian dialects in part hindered by geography, resulted in the many local variations found between the idioms of Calabria.

Nonetheless, the dialects have a rich and varied influence from other languages, thanks to the domination and influx of different cultures. As a result French, and, to a lesser extent, Spanish have left a strong imprint.
 


 
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