Why are we called Italians?

Abballati, Abballati


We have the pleasure to propose you some history with a simple curiosity. 

Have you ever wondered why we call ourselves Italians?

To tell you the best of Italian traditions, from North to South, we must necessarily start from the origins that gave the name to the homeland of Belcanto and Buon Gusto.

The name Italy originates from Magna Grecia. We are in 600 BC and the first Greek colonization started in the area of today’s town of Catanzaro, in Calabria.

The ancient Greeks were struck by the fact that the indigenous peoples of those lands adored the simulacrum of a calf which in ancient Greek language was called “italoi”.

In ancient Greece it was forbidden to slaughter calves, cows, oxen, sheep and even goats because they served as a workforce and as a source of food.

Ancient Greeks were struck by the fact that in those areas, of present-day Calabria and Puglia, veal was regularly eaten without any problem.

Veal eaters, in ancient Greek, was called “italioi”.

The Greeks then gave, to that ancient population, the name “italioi”. 

The name later turned into Italians and Italy.

Now we add a music to this story.

From those lands we present you “Abballati, Abballati” which is a famous tarantella present throughout the south of Italy.

Many are its versions, but the most famous one is associated with the Viddanedda of Reggio Calabria.

This music surely has Greek origins as this tarantella is prevalent in the Hellenophone Calabrian area.

The Hellenophone island of Calabria is located around the Bova mountains, south of the Aspromonte natural park.

In this area, about 2000 people still speak a dialect called “Greek of Calabria”, a spoken language which is presumed to have been maintained since the times of Magna Grecia.

The song’s version we propose is a lyrical version, brought to success by the famous tenor Roberto Alagna which performed it in Paris in 2008.

Un abbraccio/ a big Hug

Marcus Dardi

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