Despite its long, rich history and breathtaking scenery, Calabria may be Italy’s least explored region-and this is exactly why I love it.
Italy is made up of 20 regions, and Calabria is part of the “Mezzogiorno,” the southern regions that also include Abruzzo, Basilicata, Campania, Molise, Puglia, and Sicily.
With a size of 5800 square miles (15,000 km²), Calabria is the toe of Italy’s boot and has been under the reign of just about every civilization you can think of-Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Aragonese, Normans, Spanish, French, Bourbons.
A peninsula that measures 150 miles (240 km) long and just 20 miles (32 km) wide at its narrowest, Calabria is separated from Sicily by the Strait of Messina. No point in the region is more than 31 miles (50 km) from a coast, and over 90% of Calabria’s land surface lies at or above 650 feet (200 m) above sea level.
Its 2 million residents are split up into five provinces: Catanzaro (CZ), Cosenza (CS), Crotone (KR), Reggio Calabria (RC), and Vibo Valentia (VV), and the city of Catanzaro (population around 100,000) is the regional capital of Calabria.
Lined with mountains and situated between two seas (Tyrrhenian and Ionian) with 500 miles (800 km) of coastline, Calabria has remained an undisturbed, unspoiled paradise, full of both ancient mountaintop villages and newer seaside towns.
This often-forgotten land offers something for everyone from art and culture to world-renowned cuisine and its fresh, simple ingredients directly from her mountains and seas.
Read articles I’ve written for About.com Italy Travel about Calabria: