Calabria is a land of coastal villages and ancient ruins. For centuries this rich land has been farmed to produce the purest of fruits.
The region’s shining star is the bergamot orange (Citrus bergamia) which is believed to be a cross between a lemon and lime. Since the eighteenth century, the bergamot has been cultivated, almost exclusively, in the Calabria region, in the province of Reggio Calabria, in a narrow coastal band along the Ionian Sea and majestic mountains. Its essential oil has been deemed as the “prince of citrus” in the perfume industry and the most sought after scent. The oil is also renowned for its analgesic and neuroprotective effects when used in aromatherapy for the relief of stress-induced anxiety and depression. Today, researchers are finding that the bergamot fruit contains an abundance and variety of nutraceutical compounds when juiced.
In 800 B.C., Greeks migrated and settled in Calabria, an area which the Romans dubbed Magna Grecia (Latin, Great Greece). Greeks called the inhabitants of this area "Italoi," referring to King Italo that, according to legend, descended from the Trojans. Under the Emperor Augustus the entirety of Calabria was called Italia, a name that later extended north and came to identify all of the land encompassing the Italian peninsula.
Thereafter, nearly every major power in the western world occupied Calabria, including the Byzantines, Saracens, Normans, Spanish, French and Bourbons. It was the Byzantines who actually began calling the area Calabria, which means “fertile earth.”
To learn more about this region, see
The Rise of Calabria: Rediscovering the South of Italy - Conde Nast Traveler
Discover Italy’s most delicious secret
What to see and eat in Calabria, Italy – National Geographic
Frances Mayes National Geographic – Super Savvy Travelers