Calabria is a region in Southern Italy that borders Basilicata to the north and, on the other three sides, is washed by the sea, with the Strait of Messina separating it from Sicily to the south-west, the Ionian Sea to the east and the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west.
Calabria was the first territory to be historically named Italy by the Greeks, since on their arrival, they landed in Catanzaro, in the territory at the time, dominated by Italo, the king of the Oenotrians, and because of the assonance they gave it this name, as Thucydides ('that region was called by Italo, king of the Arcades') and Virgil (Aeneid, III) also report.
It was a land inhabited since the Palaeolithic period, as demonstrated by the Romito Cave, where there are several rock engravings, the most important of which is a graffito on a large boulder representing a majestic bovine, located in the locality of Nuppolara in the municipality of Papasidero.
Calabria, thanks to its strategic position in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea saw the flourishing of numerous ethnic groups such as the Oenotrians, Bruzi, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Normans. With the Greeks it experienced its greatest splendour, with cities that were rich and culturally advanced at the time, and later renamed Magna Grecia by the Roman conquerors.
Calabria, is almost exclusively mountainous, in fact it is crossed along the Apennines. In its territory, there are few flat areas, including the plains of Gioia Tauro, Sibari and Sant'Eufemia.
Calabria's rivers are not particularly significant, firstly because of the narrow and elongated shape of the Calabrian peninsula, and secondly because of the particular arrangement of the mountainous reliefs. Most are torrential, with the exception of the Crati and Neto rivers, which are the longest and flow into the Ionian Sea. While the Amato, Savuto and Lao rivers are the largest rivers that flow into the Tyrrhenian Sea. There are also numerous artificial lakes, especially on the Sila plateau, the main and best known of which are the Ampollino, Arvo, Cecita, Angitola and Passante.
There are no less than three national parks in Calabria: the Pollino, which is the largest in Italy, the Sila and Aspromonte, as well as a regional park, the Serre. In addition to these, there are several protected natural areas and sites of community importance.
The different climatic conditions of the Calabria region favour different vegetation. Near the sea, Mediterranean scrub predominates with olive trees, holm oaks and other plants typical of the Mediterranean climate. Next comes a vegetation of chestnut and oak trees. On the higher ground, typical mountain climate species dominate, consisting of beech, silver fir and larch pine. Not to be forgotten is the 'loricate pine' (Pinus heldreichii), the undisputed symbol of the Pollino National Park; this ancient relic only lives here and outside Italy it can be found in the Balkans.
The main cities in the area of Calabria region are: Cosenza, Catanzaro, Vibo Valentia, Reggio Calabria and Crotone.
Since Calabria is washed by the sea on three sides, it has several ports. The most important are:
- The one of Gioia Tauro, which is a commercial infrastructure.
- The one of Reggio Calabria, home to the region's maritime directorate and a commercial-industrial infrastructure. With a part of it dedicated to pleasure boating, it is mainly connected with Messina, the Aeolian Islands and Malta. With over 10 million passengers transported per year, it is the first port in the region and the second in Italy.
- Finally, the port of Villa San Giovanni, which is an exclusively transport-oriented structure, connects rail and major road traffic between Calabria and Sicily.
Other ports present include:
- That of Vibo Marina, with a tourist, commercial and industrial function.
- Of Crotone, with a merchant dock and one for fishing and pleasure boating.
- Of Corigliano Calabro, a large port of call, commercial and fishing.
- Of Palmi, a tourist and fishing port of call and a port of refuge on the Costa Viola, located on the Tonnara coastline.
- Of Catanzaro, a mainly tourist port.
- Of Cirò Marina, a tourist fishing port, intended for local fishing and pleasure boating.
- Of Tropea, mainly for tourism.
- Of Cariati, a tourist and fishing port.
- But also the ports of Roccella Ionica, Scilla, Isola Capo Rizzuto and Cetraro, with a tourist function.
The region of Calabria has three civil airports, one military airport and six airfields.
- Lamezia Terme Airport (SUF) is the main airport in Calabria and one of the first in southern Italy in terms of passenger traffic. It carries out scheduled connections for both national and international flights, but also charter connections organised by tour operators for intercontinental flights. Due to its central geographical position, therefore easily accessible, it serves the whole of Calabria and also some municipalities in neighbouring regions.
- Reggio Calabria Airport (REG) is the second largest airport in Calabria in terms of number of passengers, serving the metropolitan cities of Reggio Calabria and Messina.
- Crotone Airport (CRV) is the third largest airport in Calabria by number of passengers, serving the province of Crotone.
The main tourist resource in Calabria is the sea, with its beautiful beaches.
- Costa degli Achei
- Costa dei Saraceni
- Costa degli Aranci
- Costa dei Gelsomini
- Costa Viola
- Costa degli Dei
- Riviera dei Cedri