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Calabria Panorama Calabria, is a region in southern Italy which occupies the "toe" of the Italian peninsula south of Naples. It is bounded to the north by the region of Basilicata, to the south-west by the region of Sicily, to the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea, and to the east by the Ionian Sea. The region covers 15,080 km▓ and has a population of 2 million. The regional capital is Catanzaro.

Calabria is a narrow peninsula extending into the heart of the Mediterranean for three hundred kilometres. It is located at the tip of the "boot" between the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west and the Ionian Sea and Gulf of Taranto to the east. It is separated from Sicily by the Strait of Messina, where the narrowest point between Capo Peloro in Sicily and Punta Pezzo in Calabria is only 3.2 km (1.2 mi).

Although the sea seems ever present in Calabria, it is mainly a mountainous region. Three mountain ranges are present: Pollino, the Sila, and Aspromonte. All three mountain ranges are unique with their own flora and fauna.

The Pollino Mountains in the north of the region are rugged and form a natural barrier separating Calabria from the rest of Italy. The Serra Dolcedorme is the highest point, which rises to 2,267 metres (7,440 ft.). Parts of the area are heavily wooded, while others are vast, wind-swept plateaus with little vegetation. These mountains are home to the Pino Loricato, a type of pine tree found only in this area.

The Sila is a vast plateau, about 1,200 metres (about 4,000 ft.) above sea level, which stretches for nearly 2,000 square kilometres along the central part of Calabria. The highest point is Botte Donato, which reaches 1,928 metres (6,325 ft.). The area boasts numerous lakes and dense coniferous forests.

The Aspromonte massif forms the southernmost tip of the Italian peninsula bordered by the sea on three sides. This unique mountainous structure reaches its highest point at Montalto, at 1,995 metres (6,550 ft.), and is full of wide, man-made terraces that slope down towards the sea.

In general, most of the lower terrain in Calabria has been agricultural for centuries, and exhibits indigenous scrubland as well as introduced plants such as the prickly pear cactus (it: Fico d'India). The lowest slopes are rich in vineyards and citrus fruit orchards. Moving upwards, olives and chestnut trees appear while in the higher regions there are often dense forests of oak, pine, beech and fir trees.

Calabria is a land of contrasts, in many respects, with below zero temperatures in the mountains in winter and temperatures sometimes over 40░C in the summer along low valley areas. The climate is typically Mediterranean (K÷ppen climate classification CSa), except at the highest elevations (DSa, DSb) and the more arid eastern stretches along the Ionian Sea.

Calabria ViewCalabria was first settled by Italic Oscan-speaking tribes. Two of these tribes included the Oenotri (roughly translated into the "vine-cultivators") and the Itali. Greek contact with the latter resulted in the entire peninsula (modern Italy) taking the name of the tribe.

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), and Locri, were numbered among the leading cities of Magna Graecia during the 6th and 5th centuries BC. Conquered by the Romans in the 3rd century BC, the region never regained its former prosperity.

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 established the main cities of Calabria, including the modern capital, Cosenza (then called Consentia).

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 XVII 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 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, depopulated 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, and organized a government along Byzantine lines that was run by the local Greek magnates of Calabria. In 1098, Pope Urban II named Roger the equivalence of an apostolic legate. The Hauteville clan later formed the precursors of the Kingdom of Naples which ruled Calabria until the unification of Italy. This kingdom itself came under many rulers: the Habsburg dynasties of both Spain and Austria; the Franco-Spanish Bourbon dynasty, Napoleon's brother Joseph Bonaparte, and then French Marshal Joachim Murat, who was executed in the small town of Pizzo.

Throughout all this Calabria remained a very rural and isolated region. It 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 Risorgimento (unification of Italy), in which Garibaldi was wounded. Until recently, the Mezzogiorno (southern Italy) was among the poorest regions of Europe and 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, and the United States). Today, there is increased affluence and a much improved economy based on modern agriculture, tourism, and a growing commercial base. Even though the per capita income is still well below that of northern Italy and central Italy, it has improved to the point where it is approaching the European Union median.

Part of the information regarding the history, the art, the traditions and the events about the city of Calabria on this page is drawn from respecting the GNU Free Documentation License.