Reggio di Calabria, commonly known as Reggio Calabria About this sound listen or Reggio in Southern Italy, is the biggest city and the most populated comune of Calabria, Southern Italy, is the capital of the Province of Reggio Calabria and is the seat of the Regional Council of Calabria.Reggio is located on the "toe" of the Italian peninsula and is separated from the island of Sicily by the Strait of Messina. It is situated on the slopes of the Aspromonte, a long, craggy mountain range that runs up through the center of the region. The third economic center of mainland Southern Italy, the city proper has a population of more than 180,000 inhabitants spread over 236 square kilometres, while the fast-growing urban area numbers 260,000 inhabitants. More than 370,000 people live in the metropolitan area, recognised in 2009 by Italian Republic as a metropolitan city.As a major functional pole in the region, it has strong historical, cultural and economic ties with the city of Messina, which lies across the strait in Sicily. With the sicilian metropolitan city of Messina, is also talk of a 'possible creation' of the metropolitan city of the Straits of Messina, with approximately 800,000 to 900,000 inhabitants.Reggio is the oldest city in the region, and despite its ancient foundation – Ρηγιον was an important and flourishing colony of Magna Graecia – it boasts a modern urban system, set up after the catastrophic earthquake on December 28, 1908, which destroyed most of the city. The region is subject to earthquakes and tsunami. It is a major economic center for regional services and transport on the southern shores of the Mediterranean.Reggio, with Naples and Taranto, is home to one of the most important archaeological museums, the prestigious National Archaeological Museum of Magna Græcia, dedicated to Ancient Greece. Reggio is the seat, since 1907, of the Archeological Superintendence of Bruttium and Lucania. The city has two recently founded universities: the "Mediterranea" University, and the "Università per Stranieri". There are also an Academy of Fine Arts and a Conservatory of Music.The city center, consisting primarily of Liberty buildings, has a linear development along the coast with parallel streets, and the promenade is dotted with rare magnolias and exotic palms.Reggio has commonly used popular nicknames: The "city of Bronzes", for the Riace bronzes which are testimonials of its Greek origins; the "city of bergamot", which is exclusively cultivated in the region; and the "city of Fatamorgana", an optical phenomenon visible in Italy only from the Reggio seaside.The city is one of the Italian candidates, to become in 2019 the European Capital of Culture.