Griko, sometimes spelled Grico, is a language combining ancient Greek, Byzantine Greek and Italian elements. Griko is spoken by people in the Magna Graecia region in southern Italy and Sicily, and it is otherwise known as the Grecanic language. Greeks often call the language Katoitaliótika (Greek: Κατωιταλιώτικα, "Southern Italian") and sometimes Calabrian, although the latter may also serve as an euphemism for a Greek-Italian pidgin language.
Two small Griko-speaking communities survive today in Calabria and Salento. The Griko-speaking area of Salento comprises nine small towns in the Grecìa Salentina region (Calimera, Martano, Castrignano de' Greci, Corigliano d'Otranto, Melpignano, Soleto, Sternatia, Zollino, Martignano), with a total of 40,000 inhabitants. The Calabrian Griko region also consists of nine villages in Bovesia, but its population is significantly smaller.
There are two main theories regarding Griko's origin:
Griko and modern Greek are mutually intelligible to some extent.
There is rich oral tradition and Griko folklore. Griko songs, music and poetry are particularly popular in Italy and Greece. Famous music groups from Salento include Ghetonia and Aramirè. Also, influential Greek artists such as Dionysis Savvopoulos and Maria Farantouri have performed in Griko.
The Italian parliament has recognized the Griko community of Salento as an ethnic and linguistic minority, under the name of "Minoranze linguistiche Grike dell'Etnia Griko-Salentina" (linguistic minority of the Griko-Salentinian ethnicity).
Sample Griko text
from Kalinifta, a popular Griko song:
Εβώ πάντα σε σένα πενσέω,
Εγώ πάντα εσένα σκέφτομαι,
I always think of you,