Greece is a rugged mountainous country, despite its beautiful coastal areas,
and contact between groups of peoples was difficult overland. Since the time of
the earliest Bronze Age settlements, major trade and exploration existed principally by sea.
Colonization characterized the early years of Greek civilization from the eighth century BCE,
with the earliest Greek settlements in the areas around Naples, Italy
(click here for more about Greeks in Italy).
By the late Archaic period, Greek cities existed from Spain to Russia and from Italy to North Africa
along nearly all coastal areas with good harbors and nearby farmland.