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Explore a Ghost Town in Southern Italy

The abandoned hillside village of Roghudi Vecchio, in Italy’s Aspromonte mountains was founded in the eleventh century. And the roots of its former residents may extend to ancient times. This region, Calabria, is the toe at the tip of Italy's boot. And when the Greeks started colonizing the area in the eighth century BC, Calabria was a toehold. Over the centuries, southern Italy again received Hellenic immigrants, displaced from the eastern Mediterranean. Newcomers either revived a flagging Greek-speaking minority, or reintroduced a language that had died out locally. Incredibly, even today there are a few thousand Greek speakers in Calabria. One village where you might hear the local dialect of Greko, or Italian Greek, is Roghudi Nuovo—New Roghudi—part of a cluster of Ionian seacoast towns on the outskirts of the city of Reggio. Today’s Roghudi was founded by people from Old Roghudi—Roghudi Vecchio, when floods forced virtually everyone out. 

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