Calabrese - Orientation


The Calabrese are a geographically and, to a degree, culturally defined people of the classic latifundia Region of southern Italy.

Location. Calabria lies between 38° and 39° N and approximately 16° E, constituting the "toe" of the Italian "boot." It has coasts bordering on the Tyrrhenian and Ionian seas. The island of Sicily lies just off to the west, across the Strait of Messina. The region consists of three provinces, with provincial capitals at Cosenza, Catanzaro, and Reggio Calabria. The terrain is predominantly hilly, with some mountains. The climate is typically Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and mild, humid winters. Mean annual rainfall varies from 60 to 120 centimeters. Summers are a time of drought, and what rain does occur falls in short, heavy showers that wash away the soil and damage the crops. Most of the soils are poor—thin and highly porous. The farmlands are confined to the clayey regions. Forested areas of the region have been dramatically reduced over the years, especially Recently, because of overgrazing and overcropping, resulting in much soil erosion.

Demography. According to a 1981 census, Calabria's population is 2,061,182. Person-to-land ratios are extremely low throughout most of the region, because of the wide dispersal of settlement centers. The population has been steadily declining over the last several decades, largely because of the out-migration of residents. Overall mortality rates have Declined, but infant mortality rates remain quite high relative to the rest of Italy. As is the case for much of western Europe, Calabria is experiencing a demographic shift toward an older population, which is exacerbated by the fact that most outmigrants are drawn from the younger segment of the adult population.

linguistic Affiliation. The Neapolitan-Calabrian dialect predominates in Calabria, although there are communities of Calabrian-Albanian speakers as well. Although the two languages are linguistically distinct, they are both Indo-European languages. The former belongs to the Gallo-Romance Family, the latter to the Albanian.

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