Calabria (UK: / kəˈlæbriə /, US: / -ˈleɪb-, -ˈlɑːb - /, Italian: ; Calabrian: Calàbbria; Calabrian Greek: Calavría; Greek: Καλαβρία; Arbëreshë Albanian : Kalavrì), known in ancient times as Bruttium (US: / ˈbrʊtiəm, ˈbrʌt - /), is a region of southern Italy.
The capital of Calabria is Catanzaro. The Regional Council of Calabria is based in Palazzo Campanella in the city of Reggio Calabria. The region is delimited to the north by the Basilicata region, to the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea and to the east by the Ionian Sea. The region covers 15,080 km2 (5,822 square miles) and has a population of just under 2 million. The demonym of Calabria is Calabrian in Italian and Calabrese in English.
In ancient times the name Calabria referred, not as in modern times to the tip, but to the tip of the heel in Italy, from Tarentum to the south, a region today known as Salento.
Starting from the third century BC, the name Calabria was originally given to the Adriatic coast of the Salento peninsula in modern Puglia. At the end of the first century BC this name came to extend to the whole of Salento, when the Roman emperor Augustus divided Italy into regions. The whole region of Puglia has received the name Regio II Apulia et Calabria. At that time modern Calabria was still known as Bruttium, after the Bruttians who inhabited the region. Later in the seventh century AD, the Byzantine empire created the Duchy of Calabria from Salento and from the Ionian part of Bruttium. Although the Calabrian part of the duchy was conquered by the Lombards during the eighth and ninth centuries AD, the Byzantines continued to use the name Calabria for their remaining territory in Bruttium.
The modern name Italy derives from Italy, which was used for the first time as a name for the southern part of modern Calabria. Over time the Greeks began to use it also for the rest of the southern Italian peninsula. After the Roman conquest of the region, the name was used for the entire Italian peninsula and finally also for the Alpine region.
The region is generally known as the "tip" of the "boot" of Italy and is a long and narrow peninsula that extends from north to south for 248 km (154 mi), with a maximum width of 110 km (68 mi). . About 42% of the Calabrian area, corresponding to 15,080 km2, is mountainous, 49% is hilly, while the plains occupy only 9% of the region's territory. It is surrounded by the Ionian and Tyrrhenian seas. 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 (2 mi).
There are three mountain ranges: Pollino, La Sila and Aspromonte. All three mountain ranges are unique in their flora and fauna. The Pollino mountains in the north of the region are rugged and form a natural barrier that separates Calabria from the rest of Italy. Parts of the area are wooded, while others are vast windswept plains with little vegetation. These mountains are home to a rare variety of Bosnian pine and are included in the Pollino National Park. The Pollino National Park also has the distinction of being the largest national park in Italy and covers approximately 1,925.65 square kilometers.
La Sila, which has been called the "Great Wood of Italy", is a vast mountainous plateau at about 1,200 meters (3,900 feet) above sea level and covers approximately 2,000 square kilometers (770 square miles) along the central part of Calabria. The highest point is Botte Donato, which reaches 1,928 meters (6,325 feet). The area boasts numerous lakes and dense coniferous forests. La Sila also has some of the tallest trees in Italy which are called the "Giants of the Sila" and can reach up to 40 meters (130 feet) in height. Sila National Park is also known for having the purest air in Europe.
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 in Montalto, at 1,995 meters (6,545 feet), and is full of large artificial terraces that slope down to the sea.
In general, most of the lower land in Calabria has been agricultural for centuries and has autochthonous scrub and introduced plants such as prickly pear. The lower slopes are rich in vineyards and citrus orchards. Diamante cedar is one of the citrus fruits. Going upwards, olive and chestnut trees appear while in the higher regions there are often dense forests of oaks, pines, beeches and firs.
Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calabria