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San Ferdinando

San Ferdinando is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Reggio Calabria in the Italian region Calabria, located about 80km southwest of Catanzaro and about 45km northeast of Reggio Calabria. As of 31 December 2004, it had a population of 4,487 and an area of 14.0km2.The municipality of San Ferdinando contains the frazioni (subdivisions, mainly villages and hamlets) Eranova and Villaggio Praia.San Ferdinando borders the following municipalities: Gioia Tauro, Rosarno.Early historyThe area around San Ferdinando is within the borders of the historic town of Rosarno, which is the site of the ancient Greek city of Medma. Present day Rosarno and its environs sprung up during the Byzantine Era and appeared for the first time in history in a document in 1037. The rule of Rosarno was greatly contested, due to its strategic importance in giving a hold over of the fertile Mesima River valley and was controlled by various feudal lords, including the Ruffo and the Pignatelli families. Situated along the sea, San Ferdinando was a planned community to support a major public works project of the early 19th Century to transform the malaria-ridden Mesima valley into a commercial agricultural town. Following a major earthquake in 1783 the Mesima River Valley the Rosarno plain was said to have sunk nearly a meter creating significant shifts in water flow and the creation of lakes and swamps. This change in the geology and ecology of the area provided for an environment for malaria to breed. This resulted in deaths that halved the population by the start of the 19th Century. This cataclysm left no passable roads and the destruction of a majority of the buildings in the area.
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