The region which forms the toe of Italy is the province of Calabria - possibly the most under-appreciated yet most beautiful parts of the country. It occupies a landscape of breathtaking scenic beauty, with rugged coastline surrounding a rocky, mountainous heart. Its beaches are not only absolutely stunning, they are often completely deserted - there are 780km of coast in Calabria, and far too few visitors to occupy them.
Calabria was heavily occupied by the ancient Greeks, with a number of settlements in Calabria dating back to the 7th century BC. Since then, it has been colonised by the Romans, Byzantines, Lombards, Normans and the Kingdom of Naples - which has given the whole area a rich cultural heritage and a great many historical sites to discover.
The region is surrounded on three sides by the Mediterranean Sea, which includes the Straits of Messina which separate the mainland from the island of Sicily.