10 places not to be missed in Molise
What to see in Molise: here is a list of places to visit. From Isernia to Campomarino, passing through the Montedimezzo Reserve, discover beaches, villages, cities, and destinations for a holiday in Molise.
Located in the south-east of Italy, almost swallowed up between the neighboring regions of Abruzzo, Puglia, and Campania, Molise is a small and quiet region which is quite underrated and often even forgotten.
But does Molise exist? This is the witty hit that pops up on social media, and which has also led to the creation of a very popular page called “Molise does not exist”.
Here we discuss the so-called “denials of Molise negationism” which intend to argue respectively that Molise is simply a borderline between Abruzzo and Puglia or that the region’s territory is actually a large gulf that washes Campania, Lazio, Puglia, and Abruzzo, or even that Molise is part of the Province of Benevento.
Seriously, it is worth exploring this still little-known region, where nature, history, art, ancient traditions, and gastronomy are real treasures. Here you are cities and destinations in Molise for a wonderful holiday!
Isernia is an ancient city and was the capital of the people of Samnite origins. Sacked by the Saracens, destroyed during the Second World War due to a heavy bombardment, it has fortunately managed to maintain, in the lower part of the city, its ancient appearance, and still today it stands out for its narrow, very suggestive and characteristic alleys.
Among the most interesting monuments we find the Fraternal Fountain, built between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in honor of one of the illustrious citizens, Pope Celestino V. Also noteworthy is the Cathedral, rebuilt in the nineteenth century after having suffered numerous damages due to earthquakes, which it contains a beautiful Byzantine-style icon, known as “The Madonna of the light”.
Not only the city of Isernia but also its province, contain attractions and places of interest.
Starting from Frosolone, “the city of knives”, where you can visit the Museum of Cutting Tools, up to the Collemeluccio Reserve, a natural area declared a UNESCO heritage site located in the municipality of Pescolanciano; without forgetting the wonderful village of Venafro and the Castle of Pantone, inside which is the National Museum of Molise.
Located in the heart of the Molise Apennines, it was established in 1977 and included in the international program of UNESCO MAB – Man and Biosphere (Man and Biosphere).
The whole Reserve is wooded and reaches altitudes between 900 and 1300 meters high, there are oaks, beeches and numerous other native species such as the Lobelius maple, the mountain, field, and curly maples, the white hornbeam, the common ash, the hazel, the rowan tree, the cherry tree, the wild pear and apple tree, the blackthorn and many other species significant for feeding the wildlife.
The Reserve is home to numerous species of mammals including wild boars, hares, badgers, roe deer, martens, weasels, martens, foxes, and squirrels but also birds such as the honey buzzard, the collared nurse, the little dove, the tortilla, the great woodpecker and the lesser woodpecker, the buzzard, the owl, the barn owl, the jay, and many passerines.
The town of Campobasso rises 700 meters above sea level and thanks to its very favorable position it offers really suggestive views.
Definitely visit the Monforte Castle, located on a hill overlooking the whole city, the Cathedral of 1504, the Church of San Bartolomeo, in Romanesque style and the Museum of the Crib which houses a collection of antique nativity scenes, including some from the 18th century.
Awarded several times with the European Blue Flag for the clarity of its sea, Termoli offers tourists equipped beaches and many services both hotels and sports.
The ancient village of Termoli is surrounded by high fortified walls, magnificent is the tower of the ancient Swabian Castle, the only survivor and today a symbol of the city.
Campitello Matese is a mountain resort located in the heart of the Molise Apennines, more specifically on the slopes of Monte Miletto (2050 meters).
It is one of the most important winter tourism destinations in Molise as it provides one of the snowiest ski resorts in central-southern Italy.
Not only skiing: those who love snowshoeing in the silence of nature can pass through truly enchanting woods.
In addition to skiing facilities, winter sports facilities and cross-country skiing tracks, this little town of just over 900 inhabitants in 2015 ended up on all the world’s most important newspapers and TV stations, from CNN to Mirror, passing by The Telegraph, up to Time.
The reason? The more than 256 centimeters of snow that fell in about 16 hours on the small town, which may have beaten the 1921 record in Colorado!
Inhabited since ancient times as evidenced by the remains of a settlement dating from the nineteenth-eighteenth century BC and destroyed several times during the barbarian invasions, the town of Campomarino was able to rise again and become an important center for Lombard and Norman populations.
To date, the Municipality is a couple of kilometers from the coast but extends to the splendid beach, in fact, it represents for the Region a very coveted and continuously developing tourist destination. Also noteworthy is the Church of Santa Maria a Mare, in Romanesque style, and the tree-lined road leading from the center of the town to the hamlet of Nuova Cliternia, characterized by the centuries-old pine trees that flank it.
Molise is also a land of ancient traditions and spiritual itineraries to travel in pristine environments.
In this regard, the majestic complex of the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Canneto (or of Santa Maria di Canneto), dating back to the 11th – 12th centuries and the Shrine of the Addolorata, in neo-gothic style, should be noted.
Built to allow seasonal movements of the cattle, the “trattorie” are very ancient paths of grass. Some dating back to pre-Roman times, others a couple of centuries ago, the sheep tracks cover practically all the territory of Molise and offer unique itineraries, such as the one that unites the Gargano National Park with that of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise.
The first town in Molise touched by this fantastic route is Castelpetroso, in the Monti del Sannio, an excellent starting point for a journey back in time to discover ancient traditions.
Along the way, in addition to important archaeological, artistic and religious sites, it is possible to meet some nostalgic pastors who lead their flocks, finding rhythms, sounds, traditions of another era.
Festivals and celebrations are held throughout the year to keep local traditions alive.
The regional gastronomy sees many analogies with the traditions of the neighboring regions, such as those of Abruzzo but also of Campania and Puglia.
In the inland mountain territory, for example, lamb, goat, mutton, and sheep are the favorite meats and are the basis of known Molise specialties. Among the events not to be missed is the lamb festival in Capracotta.
Do not miss the Scapoli International Bagpipe Festival, the White Truffle Fair in San Pietro Avellana and a folkloristic event like “La‘ Ndocciata “, torchlight procession in traditional costume held annually in Agnone.
the demographic drop in the Molise region Download PDF
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