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Greek presence in Italy begins with the migrations of the old Greek Diaspora in the 8th century BC, continuing down to the present time. There is a linguistic minority known as the Griko people, who live in the Southern Italian regions of Calabria (Province of Reggio Calabria) and Apulia, especially the peninsula of Salento, within the old Magna Graecia region, who speak a distinctive dialect of Greek called Griko. They are believed to be remnants of the ancient and medieval Greek communities, who have lived in the south of Italy for centuries. Alongside this group, a smaller number of more recent migrants from Greece lives in Italy, forming an expatriate community in the country. Today many Greeks in Southern Italy follow Italian customs and culture.
In the 8th and 7th centuries BC, for various reasons, including demographic crisis (famine, overcrowding, climate change, etc.), the search for new commercial outlets and ports, and expulsion from their homeland, Greeks began a large colonization drive, including southern Italy.
In this same time, Greek colonies were established in places as widely separated as the eastern coast of the Black Sea and Massalia (Marseille). They included settlements in Sicily and the southern part of the Italian peninsula. The Romans called the area of Sicily and the foot of the boot of Italy Magna Graecia (Latin, "Greater Greece"), since it was so densely inhabited by Greeks. The ancient geographers differed on whether the term included Sicily or merely Apulia and Calabria — Strabo being the most prominent advocate of the wider definitions.
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