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Molise

Molise is Italy’s youngest region. This territory features soaring mountains and rolling hills that gently descend to the Adriatic Sea. The region, formerly part of the Abruzzo and Molise region, became its own independent region in 1963, gaining the dignity and rank that it deserved.

The Apennine Mountains dominate Molise. With many peaks topping 2,000 metres, this is a winter wonderland, perfect for skiing and mountain sports. Even though Molise isn’t known for its flatlands, the region has a 35 kilometre coastline that boasts three seaside resorts which have earned the prestigious blue flag, an international certification of water quality. Here you can enjoy a relaxing beach vacation while also visiting many cultural and natural landmarks such as the walled city of Termoli. Or take a jaunt to Petacciato, a picturesque village perched on a hilltop that offers spectacular panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea.

Does Molise really exist? In Italy, this is the punch line of many jokes about the region. But they’re completely unfounded. Flip open the history books and you’ll learn that this land has played a strategic role due to its location halfway between Rome and Naples. The Samnites, an ancient Italic population, lived here sharing a northern border with the Romans. Originally allies, the Samnites and Romans eventually became enemies and were involved in a series of wars. In the end, the Romans conquered the Samnites, who then became Roman citizens. That’s why the region has an abundance of fascinating archaeological sites, both Roman and pre-Roman, as well as museums detailing the ancient history of a part of Italy that’s not well known.

In Molise, the cuisine is deeply rooted in the land and its endless bounty. The region’s olive oil has been granted the prestigious PDO (protected designation of origin) label, whereas the exquisite cheeses, cured meats and sausages are delicious as appetizers or in recipes calling for all-natural, flavourful ingredients. You might be pleasantly surprised to learn that Molise even serves up some fabulous fish! In fact, many fish dishes come from Termoli, Molise’s main coastal city. Don’t forget the centuries-old tradition of pasta making in this region. Have you ever heard – or better yet tasted – Molisana pasta?

You and your taste buds won’t forget the many authentic delicacies that you’ve tasted in this small region. Thus, the finest souvenir that you can bring home from your vacation in Molise is a selection of delicious handmade goodies to give or enjoy with family and friends.

Creating products by hand is a Molise tradition that extends well beyond food and wine to include arts and crafts, in particular the ancient art of metalworking. Agnano’s bell founders are world renowned. Campobasso and Isernia, in turn, have plenty of shopping centres and open-air shopping districts lined with big name, historic and mom-and-pop stores.

Even though nearly all of Molise is mountainous and hilly, there’s a surprisingly wide variety of landscapes to admire. The lush green Apennine Mountains are always beautiful, particularly in the cold months when the snow-blanketed peaks create a glorious panorama. While Molise is dressed in pure white in the winter, brightly coloured foliage dapples the hills in the autumn. It’s the perfect time to discover the pristine nature through walks, excursions and even visits to the region’s many small villages. While wandering along the alleyways and inside the castles, surprises await you around every corner!

Such a mountainous region can’t help but offer a wealth of sporting activities. Molise is paradise for outdoor sports enthusiasts. Downhill skiers can whip down the slopes of two major Apennine ski resorts while cross-country skiers will enjoy the trails around Capracotta. Spring and autumn are the seasons for hiking, mountain biking and rafting along Molise’s trails and rapids. In the Isernia area, there’s also a large golf course. And beach bums can soak up the sun on the Adriatic coastline’s gorgeous beaches.

In a region famous for its mountains and unspoiled natural terrain, there are also abundant opportunities to truly relax. Molise is home to many spas and thermal baths. The most famous are the baths of Sepino where you can soak in the many pools and baths fed by springs of pure mineral water. This site is open from April until October.

Travellers seeking some serious pampering and beauty time will want to visit one of the exclusive resorts in the province of Isernia which will spoil you to no end.

Lively local festivals and traditional events pack the calendar all year long in the cities and mountain villages scattered throughout Molise. If cultural heritage isn’t your cup of tea and you aren’t wild about outdoor sports, then the coastline and, above all, the area in and around Termoli is the perfect spot for you. In the summer, this charming seaside city pulsates nearly every day with festivals and events to please even the pickiest among us. We swear that you’ll find the event for you.

Termoli’s cathedral is a must-see for visitors who want to immerse themselves in the spirituality and religion of this small region. An extremely important religious as well as historic landmark, the original church on this site dates backs to at least the 11th century. The gothic masterpiece Basilica Minore dell’Addolorata is a more modern but equally dramatic church in Castelpetroso, built in honour of Molise’s patron saint.

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molise

Excellences of the region

Destinations in the region

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