Molise is the second smallest of the Italian regions and also the youngest, having been established in 1963 when the previous region of ‘Abruzzi e Molise’ was split into two. The region has an total area of 4,438 square kilometres and a population of about 330,000. There are two provinces: Campobasso and Isernia. The capital of the region is Campobasso.
Molise is bordered by Abruzzo to the north, Lazio to the west, Campania and Puglia to the south and east. Molise has a small coastline bordering the Adriatic to the northeast. Termoli is the only major port of Molise and also the largest seaside resort of the region.
Molise is the youngest Italian region, since it was established in 1963, when the region “Abruzzi e Molise” was split into two regions, which, however, still today maintain a common identity both geographically and in their historical and traditional heritage.
Although largely forgotten by Italians and tourists alike, the region has many places of interest nestled in the mountains that are worth visiting. There are many beautiful abbeys, churches and castles as well as impressive ancient ruins far off the tourist track. Because of its mountainous terrain, the economy of the region has for centuries been highly dependent on the transit of shepherds and their flocks from Abruzzo to Puglia. Molise still relies heavily on agriculture and livestock, although its food and garment industries are undergoing a remarkable development.
|Languages spoken||Italian and other local dialects|
Culture and history of Molise
After the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 AD Molise was invaded by the Goths (535 AD) and then by the Languebards (or Lombards) in 572, and annexed to the Dukedom of Benevento. A very troubled period began with the invasions of the Saracens, that in 860 AD destroyed Isernia, Telese, Alife, Sepino, Boiano and Venafro. By the 10th century there were 9 countdoms: Venafro, Larino, Trivento, Bojano, Isernia, Campomarino, Termoli, Sangro, Pietrabbondante.
In 1095 the most powerful of them, Bojano, came under the rule of the Norman Hugo I of Molhouse, who most probably gave his name to the region; his successor Ugo II was Count of Molise in 1144. In the 16th century Molise was included to the Province of Capitanata (Apulia) and in 1806 became an autonomous Province, included in the Abruzzi region.
In the 19th century there was a general worsening of the economic conditions of the population, and this gave rise, under the newly established Kingdom of Italy (1861), to brigandage and a massive emigration not only abroad but also to more industrial Italian areas. A heavy destruction took place in WW2, until finally the Allied Forces were able to land at Termoli, in September 1943.
Activities in Molise
Molise boasts the most important ski slopes in Isernia Province, with Capracotta in Molise’s Appenines where, in addition to classical downhill skiing, enthusiasts can also enjoy cross-country skiing, ski tours and Alpine style skiing.
Pristine nature and a number of parks and reserves make the province of Isernia the ideal destination for trekking, horseback riding and cycling, perhaps along Molise’s famous and historic tratturi. Golf and paragliding are also options.
Speleology enthusiasts will appreciate the wonderful Grotta di San Michele in Sant’Angelo in Grotte, in the Municipality of Santa Maria del Molise.
Lovers of artisan crafts can discover singular works of ancient tradition, including vintage bagpipes, the bell foundry of Agnone, knife-sharpening, lace work, and copper-working.
Cities of Molise
Isernia – Campobasso