The Calabria Region


Calabria is a small underdeveloped region which forms the tip of the Italian peninsula. The population is small at only about 2,012,000 persons and the economy, though growing, is weak. The region is difficult to navigate through the mountains and because of this communication networks and adequate road and rail systems have been hard to establish.


Of course, Calabria's troubled history might also help explain the regions slow start to economic accomplishments. Calabria is one of the oldest regions of Italy with the first evidence of human presence in the region dating as far back as 700,000 years BC. Around 3,500 BC the first villages in Calabria sprung up. By the eighth century BC the Greeks had control over the region and it was a very important area for the Magna Grecia. Calabria was later conquered by the Romans in the second century BC. After the fall of the Roman Empire the region fell prey to the Goths, the Byzantines and later the Longobards around the ninth century BC.


Scilla, castle on the rock in Calabria


The Byzantines regained control of the region in the tenth century and expanded the existing monarchy thereby helping reunite the region. The Norman and Swede also took a crack at controlling Calabria around the twelfth century BC. It wouldn't be until 1860 that Calabria would be made whole and become part of the larger region of Italy.


During the confusion different groups tried many different techniques to stimulate Calabria's economy including the introduction of several key crops and a few industries. Calabria's economy is still based mainly on agriculture. Chief agricultural products include oil, onions, mushrooms, wheat and other cereal grains, wine, eggplant, figs, chestnuts, and citrus fruit. Calabria is the largest producer of bergamot oranges in Italy. The rinds of bergamot oranges are used to manufacture perfumes, teas, and other aromatic creations. Despite its small size and low population Calabria is responsible for producing a third of all the olive oil produced in Italy.


Scalea, an old pictoresque village in Calabria
Ph. depositphoto/jukai5


Calabria is fortunate to have a great deal of forested land and as a result most industry is developed around construction and building. Textile, clothing, and chemical industries are also present in the region. A substantial portion of the regions economic resources stem from the production and sale of handicrafts by individuals and very small family businesses. Tourism, which is increasing, also plays a major part in the Calabrian economy and is the motive behind some of the region's most recent technological advancements.


Italy Travel: Discovering Calabria, Italy


Calabria has a beautiful coastline which was under distress due to pollution caused by improper waste disposal and annual flooding. Recently the government of Calabria, in an effort to preserve and protect its valuable coastline, has taken steps to create the most efficient and well designed water treatment system in all of Italy. Calabria now boasts one of the cleanest, nicest coastlines in on the peninsula.


Calabria forms the toe of the Italian boot and is bordered by Basilicata and sandwiched in between the Ionian and Tyrrhenian seas. There is a lot of coastline in Calabria. No part of the region is more than 50km away from the coast. Calabria covers and area of just 15,000 km² and is made up of five provinces: Catanzaro, Consenza, Reggio di Calabria, Crotone, and Vibo Valentia. Cantanzaro is the capital of the region, but regional parliament is held in the former regional capital, Reggio di Calabria.


Tropea is one of the most famous coastal towns of Calabria
Ph. depositphoto/nevarpp


Calabria has awesome tourist potential. Currently the area is not overwhelmed by tourists. The picturesque scenery of Calabria will one day beckon hordes of people because no where else can one view such a beautiful panorama of nature. Tall, snow tipped mountains give way to thick luscious forests, white sand beaches, sapphire coast lines and crystal oceans. At the same time this setting is just a backdrop to wonderful rustic villas and impressive Greek ruins. Those interested in Greek history will find Calabria a great vacation spot. Because of Calabria's Greek heritage the region is full of Greek ruins. In between gorgeous rustic mountain tops and lush olive stand small villas that conceal a rich history of Mediterranean influence. Ruins can even be found underwater near the shore line. Hobby divers often visit Calabria to see the many ruins left underwater by ships damaged off the coast.


Food of Calabria: sausage, cheese, tomatoes and peppers


Calabria hosts several world class sea side resorts as well as wonderful mountain top resorts dedicated to winter sports. Tourists will also enjoy watching local artisans produce any number of handicrafts, pottery and ceramics being the most common. Local restaurants serve the finest in Mediterranean influenced foods. Most of the cuisine of Calabria is heavily influenced by the Mediterranean. Pasta dishes involving peppers, onions and sausage sauteed with or without sauce are very common. Frittatas made with pasta and sausage mixed into the eggs are also prevalent. Eggplant is a favorite dish in the region and is served in a variety of ways. Like the food of Basilicata, Calabria cuisine is often very spicy and sometimes involves the use of chili peppers. Seafood in all its forms are highly popular as well as pork. Tourist might also enjoy one of the numerous festivals held in Calabria such as:

  • Caccuri hosts an Easter Procession each Good Friday
  • Silano host a wild mushroom festival in October
  • Cantazaro also hosts an Easter Procession on Good Friday
  • Laureana di Borello hosts a Madonna del Carmine Festival in July
  • Villagio Mancuso hosts a Calabrian Folklore festival in September
  • Cosenza hosts the Festival delle Invasioni in July
  • Altomonte hosts the Festival of the Tow Seas in July
  • Lido di Palmi hosts a Maritime Procession of the Madonna in August
  • Cutro hosts a crucifixion parade in May
  • Bagnara hosts a swordfish festival in July
  • Soverato Superiore hosts an eggplant festival in September
  • Corigliano Calabro hosts an Orange festival and parade in January
  • Spilinga hosts a sausage festival in August
  • Paria a Mare hosts a festival for the Madonna della Grotta in August


Train in Calabria. The M2.224 were constructed by Breda between 1970 and 1974 and have diesel engines
Ph. flickr/Rob van Kan


Calabria is still being discovered by tourists. The natural beauty of the area has not been spoiled by hotel chains and fast food. There are no huge crowds to contend with. The mountains still shine down beautifully, the coast is still clear and uncomplicated, the food is still indigenous to the region, and the people are still living the Italian way. Destinations like Calabria will not stay perfect forever.


As people learn about the rich history of the region and the overwhelming presence of wonderful artifacts and artwork that fills the region visitors will begin to flock to Calabria. Right now Calabria is a perfect vacation spot for the nature lover, scuba diver, sun bather, shopper, and history connoisseur alike. The Calabrian landscape with its ancient relics and modern farmsteads is a wonder to behold. The region is rich with art, religion, history, and culture. There is something for everyone in Calabria.


By Jamie Sue Austin


Saturday, April 11TH, 2009 by Guest

Dear miss,

It is a great article over Calabria and i realy like it, i go there now for the second time and love the purity of this part of Italy (not spoiled with mass tourism and still its own identity) i hope it stays this for years, and that they can evolve by being themselves, to many countries have the big fake hotelresorts who ruin purity. i know its good for economy, but there must be other ways :) love to here more from u about Calabria, an Italian fan in all its features. starting Italian classes and talking slowly Italian. this year i head back to Calabria. 17 juli for 3 weeks

greetings Joost

Tuesday, May 31TH, 2011 by Guest

I plan to visit this area for 5 days in September 2011, to see where my anscestors came from, and meet cousins who are still there.

Monday, August 08TH, 2011 by Guest

Love the area love the people, I own an holiday rental apartment here and its so relaxed its wonderful you have to discover Calabria with your heart,once you have done that you will never look back. Forget the Costa's and the horrible spoilt resorts of europe if you want a holiday in a freindly unspolit area of Europe go here. if you are still unsure re-read this article again

Saturday, November 05TH, 2011 by Guest

Our ancestors are from Calabria but we have lost touch with them, and I often wonder what has become of them or if they are still alive.  My first cousin was a priest (Martino was his name), and I haven't heard from him in years.  I visited in '75, the last time I have seen him.  Would love to reconnect again.

Friday, November 25TH, 2011 by Guest

My parents hail from a beautiful medieval town called Belmonte... the first time I walked the cobbled town square... every unknown connection with this place suddenly burst to life......  I could hear my ancestors speaking to me with every step I took among the ancient streets....( i vici )

Thursday, January 05TH, 2012 by Guest

calabria is cool :)

Wednesday, January 25TH, 2012 by Guest

My grandmother and mother and others are from Calabria they came by ship to America.  I was born in America but would like to visit Calabria or even live there.  An angel from heaven appeared and protected me witnesses saw it and I prayed and miracles happened and more the preists asked me to do a prayer group and house church even the bishop contact me my mothers maden anme is Rodi my grandmother angelina died last week 96 years old

Wednesday, February 01TH, 2012 by Guest

My grandfather grew up in Calabria and came to America by ship, his last name was Marasco, he's has passed away now. I wish I knew if I still have any family there, as I was born in America but would love to go to Calabria someday.

Thursday, February 02TH, 2012 by Guest

If anyone can tell me anything about the name 'Martino' from Calabria, would appreciate it.

Saturday, March 10TH, 2012 by Guest

my grandparents were born in calabria i think. i never knew them. they passed away before i was born. i am 65 yrs.old. my grandfathers name was phillipe vincenzo marzano, unless immigration changed his last name as they did alot. his wife was rosa. don't know her madian name. if anybody knows of  this family please let me know. e-mail me at thanks