American/Italian Club

Frank Nechvatal
Sadly, we report that we lost one of our members, Donald McMullen, on Dec. 4, 2019. Don and his wife Mary have been members of our club since 2001. Mary has planned a memorial to remember Don on Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, in the SunBird ballroom at 1 p.m.
Our January meeting went well. We shared the news of Don. Following the business meeting, we viewed a video of Italian cities.
In our ongoing series about Italian Regions, we turn to Calabria. This region makes up the toe to arch part of the Italian peninsula. The capital city is Catanzaro. It is bordered to the north by the Basilicata Region, to the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea, and to the east by the Ionian Sea. Calabria has one of the oldest records of human presence in Italy. The earliest traces of humans came in the form of Homo Erectus that dates back to 700,000 BC, and they left evidence of their habitation around the coastal areas. Traces of villages were found dating back to the Neolithic period about 3,500 BC. Around 1500 BC, Greeks settled into this region led by their king Oenotrus. These Greeks used the term “italio” to refer to this area. They also used “italio” in reference to Calabrians, and it became synonymous with the rest of the peninsula. Calabria was the first region to be called Italia (Italy). Through the 8th and 7th centuries BC, Greek settlers founded many colonies along the coast of southern Italy. A group from the region of Basilicata invaded Calabria. They were the Bruttii from Lucania. They first took control of the northern portion of Calabria and called it Bruttium. As they pushed further south, they took control of the Greek villages and asserted their dominance. After the Greeks, led by Agathocles of Syracuse, attacked the coastal towns with his fleet, the Bruttii sent envoys to Rome in 285 BC and 282 BC to ask for help. It was during the Pyrrhic War the Bruttii sided with Pyrrhus, but when his fleet landed in Italy, the people worried about their safety and again asked Rome for protection. The Romans sent soldiers in to garrison the city. The Roman soldiers coveted the wealth of the city and killed the prominent men and seized their property. At the end of the war, Roman soldiers retook the city and arrested the criminal soldiers and executed them. The Bruttii willingly submitted to Roman control and became a part of the Roman Empire. With the fall of the Roman Empire, Calabria was invaded by the Saracens, followed by the Normans, and became a region of Italy after the Unification of Italy in 1861. Today, Calabria is popular with tourists. The cuisine is typical southern Mediterranean with a balance of meat-based dishes, vegetables, fish, and pasta. The Calabrian dialect remains the closest to Latin than any other dialect.