Thanks to its location, the Romans weren’t the only ancient civilization to leave an archaeological – and cultural – footprint. Indeed, in ancient times Calabria was once something of a hotspot for migrating Greeks. Beginning in the eighth century B.C., Hellenic adventurers began to populate this and other parts of southern Italy. So many, in fact, that the Romans later referred to Italy’s southern coastal areas as Magna Graecia – literally, greater Greece.
Of course, when the Roman Empire arrived in southern Italy, this other great civilizing force also influenced not only its politics and commerce, but its art as well. Nonetheless, much of what we consider great Roman art and sculpture also owes an enormous debt to classical Greek forms and techniques.
The town of Monasterace, on Calabria’s east coast, is a perfect example of how entrenched Greek culture was in the region. The place itself was founded by Greek migrants, and the ruins of their settlement, Caulonia, can still be seen today. The myriad ancient artifacts found there prove that eventually the older Hellenic way of life merged almost seamlessly with that of the Romans’.