Calabria Travel Guide
Member Reviews (3)
- CalabriaFirst to ReviewJul 08, 2012
Magna Grecia around 280 BC.
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.Greeks settled heavily along the coast at an early date and several of their settlements, including the first Italian city called Rhegion (Reggio Calabria), and the next ones Sybaris, Kroton (Crotone), the birthplace of the mathematician Pythagoras, and Locri, were numbered among the leading cities of Magna Graecia during the 6th and 5th centuries BC.
The Greeks were conquered by the 3rd century BC by roving Oscan tribes from the north, including a branch of the Samnites called the Lucanians and an offshoot of the Lucanians called the Bruttii. The Bruttii conquered the Greek cities, established their sovereignty over present day Calabria and founded new cities, including their own capital, Cosenza (known as Consentia in the ancient times).
The Romans conquered the area in the 3rd century BC after the fierce Bruttian resistance, possibly the fiercest resistance the Romans had to face from another Italic people. At the beginning of the Roman Empire the region would form the Augustan Regio III Lucania et Bruttii of Roman Italy.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the inhabitants were in large part driven inland by the spread of malaria and, from the early Middle Ages until the 17th century, by pirate raids. Calabria was devastated during the Gothic War before it came under the rule of a local dux for the Byzantine Empire.
In the 1060s the Normans, under the leadership of Robert Guiscard’s brother Roger, established a presence in this borderland, and organized a government along Byzantine lines that was run by the local Greek magnates of Calabria. In 1098 Roger, named the equivalent of an apostolic legate by Pope Urban II, and later formed what became the Kingdom of Sicily. The administrative divisions created in the late medieval times were maintained right through to unification:Calabria Citeriore (or Latin Calabria) in the northern half and Calabria Ulteriore (or Greek Calabria) in the southern half.
Beginning with the subsequent Angevin rule, which ruled Calabria as part of the Kingdom of Naples, Calabria was ruled from Naples right up until unification with Italy. The kingdom came under many rulers: the Habsburg dynasties of both Spain and Austria; the Franco-Spanish Bourbon dynasty which created the Kingdom of Two Sicilies, Napoleon’s brother Joseph Bonaparte, and then French Marshal Joachim Murat, who was executed in the small town of Pizzo. 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 Aspromonte was the scene of a famous battle of the unification of Italy, in which Garibaldi was wounded.
Until the mid 20th century, Southern Italy was among the poorest regions of Europe. Impoverished Calabria was a main source for the Italian diaspora of the early 20th century. Many Calabrians moved to the industrial centres of northern Italy, the rest of Europe, Australia and the Americas (especially Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and the United States). Since the 1970s there has been an increased affluence and a much improved economy based on modern agriculture, tourism, and a growing commercial base. Although the per capita income remains well below that of northern and central Italy, it is reportedly approaching the European Union median.
Trips that include
By Cori Amendt
By Jayann Christiana
By Bojana Novak
By Jessica Turato
By Rob Piaia