Molise is a small region of amazing qualities. Land of untouched landscapes from the mountains to the sea, it is rich in art, history, culture, traditions, food and wine.
Wedged between the Adriatic, the Matese massif and the Mainarde chain, between the Trigno and Fortore rivers, the region borders the Adriatic Sea and Abruzzo to the north-east (those who stop on the Coast of Trabocchi in Abruzzo can continue for a few kilometers and visit the ancient village of Termoli), with Puglia to the south-east (Gargano and its beauties are close), the province of Frosinone to the west (those who visit the Abbey of Montecassino must take advantage to visit the Pandone Castle in Venafro and the French military cemetery) and the provinces of Caserta and Benevento to the south (from here you can continue to admire the archaeological area of Altilia – Sepinum).
Molise contains precious jewels to discover: paleolithic settlements, archaeological sites of the Samnite civilization and of the Roman era, medieval monuments, towers, castles and ancient villages, in a pure environment of suggestive beauty rich in protected areas and natural reserves. It is a small region capable of attracting and welcoming travelers in search of the rare, the curious and the hidden.
It is a millenary land, rich in ancient and authentic traditions, which are handed down and are still celebrated today in patronal feasts and festivals. Here, every holiday and anniversary is an opportunity for the community to meet again and repeat those rituals that convey their history and identity.
Strong nature, a rich artistic heritage preserved with care, a warm welcome and a genuine cuisine make Molise a region where even the most demanding visitor can marvel.
- Paths between history and tratturi
- The sea, the plains and the hills
- Parks and Nature Reserves
- The flavors of Molise
Archaeological Sites Along the Roads of Transhumance
The archaeological areas of Sepino and Pietrabbondante are two precious and evocative pieces of historical evidence of past populations (Samnites and Romans) who have defined the centuries to the present day. Both cities were built along the tratturi, the millenary paths of the shepherds.
The visit to the fortified villages, castles, watchtowers and fortresses is also an opportunity for an exciting but relaxing journey back in time.
In every city, in every country and along the roads of transhumance, traces of history and splendid churches that hold precious works of art are preserved.
Mountains, Hills, Plains and Sea
Molise offers a unique tourist area: wide and unrestricted beaches with dunes and eucalyptus trees, small rest areas and equipped establishments, towns rich in history and villages full of charm.
The completely cultivated plains and hills change color as seasons and sowings alternate. Wheat, sunflowers, vegetables, olive groves and orchards: the countryside is rich in chromatic canvases painted by the work of the peasants. The perched villages and the lonely farmhouses remain the sentinels of a unique and extraordinary landscape. Here, you experience the privilege of peacefully traveling scenic roads and people-friendly towns. So little known and explored, Molise offers a mountain landscape of rare beauty. Trekking lovers can walk the countless paths and tracks of the ancient tratturi, while fans of extreme sports explore the deepest canyons in Europe. Even rivers, for long stretches, are passable by canoe. An interesting fact: there are six Canadian canoe instructors in Italy, and all whom reside in Molise.
The Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park includes the enchanting villages of Pizzone, Castel San Vincenzo, Rocchetta al Volturno, Filignano and Scapoli, and is one of the oldest and largest Italian National Parks which has become a paradise of biodiversity and a model of extraordinary nature conservation. Do not miss a visit to other protected areas, such as the MaB Reserve of Collemeluccio – Montedimezzo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the WWF Oasis of Guardiaregia with its spectacular karst phenomena, the deepest abysses in Europe.
Fresh Pasta and Polenta
Proud of their identity even in the kitchen, alongside consumption and fashion, the Molisans defend their oldest gastronomic traditions, proudly repeating the recipes of distant times. The main features are the strong flavors and the authenticity of the ingredients, but also the unusual and imaginative combinations.
Fresh pasta has a great variety of shapes and condiments, which shares some characteristics with that of the neighboring regions. The crejoli are similar to the Abruzzo guitar string pasta, and the ciufeli and tanna de rape are comparable to the Apulian orecchiette pasta; But the union of pasta with vegetables and legumes is declined in all its possibilities and continually undergoes improvements with infinite variations.
The use of polenta is interesting, as it is the economic food par excellence that reaches the extreme Apennine spurs all the way from the Po valley. In Molise, it is seasoned with rich lamb or pork, or it is found in a very special combination, in the tordiglioni from the surroundings of Isernia, where it is tossed in a pan with vegetables, garlic and chili pepper. At other times it is prepared very firm, cut into slices and cooked on the grill together with sausages, making a very tasty accompaniment.
Typical cheeses are a very important production, produced with sheep, goat, and cow milk in hilly and mountainous areas which, despite the general depopulation, boasts the presence of a hundred dedicated farms. Leaders of this production, also appreciated internationally, are Agnone’s Caciocavallo, Stracciata, Matese Pecorino and Capracotta.
The main meat of the region is sheep and the preferred cooking method is roasted. In the inns of the interior of the region, we find the traditional sheep skewers with aromatic herbs, torcinelli and annodate di trippa. A traditional festival linked to the ancient rituals of transhumance is dedicated to sheep meat, specifically that of the pezzata di Capracotta in the province of Isernia.
Vegetables and Fruits
Molise has exceptional preparation of high quality locally produced vegetables, such as peppers, broccoli, celery and fennel. An ancient festival is also dedicated to vegetables, established by Count Ruggero di Celano in 1254, on the day of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, dedicated to onions, displayed in braids on stalls and celebrated in traditional dishes.
The production of peaches, apricots and small, black and very sweet zerniza figs is also excellent.
On the Molise coast, the most popular recipes are the mullet soup (zuppa di triglie), to which a festival is dedicated, and spaghetti with cuttlefish.
The desserts reveal the encounter with different traditions and cultures, such as o core, the Bulgarian dessert prepared in Jelsi in the province of Campobasso, and the cauciuni, sweets of Middle Eastern origin with chickpea filling.
Viticulture, also in Molise, boasts ancient origins, as the Samnites had learned it from the Etruscans and Greeks. Flourishing in Roman times, it subsequently experienced moments of decadence alternating with re-blooms, the most important of which spanning the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when Molise became the largest wine producer in the Kingdom of Naples. Following a grapevine disease that destroyed many vines, cultivation was moved from the inland hills to the coastal area and is now one of the most important agricultural activities in the region with as many as seven thousand hectares cultivated and attention gained both on national and international markets. Among the reds, we remember those produced from the autochthonous black grape variety such as Tintilia, with high alcohol content, fragrant, with notes of plums, black cherries, licorice and black pepper, and among the DOCs is the Biferno, a fruity wine in three versions, white, pink and red, as well as the Pentro of Isernia.
Explore the authentic Molise with these suggested tours
Lower Molise and the sea
The Molise coast extends 35 km of lowland from the mouth of the Trigno River to Saccione Creek in Puglia. The homogeneity of the coast is interrupted by the promontory on which stands the ancient village of Termoli, surrounded by high fortified walls that fall sheer down to the sea. Termoli is the most renowned seaside resort on the Molise coast, thanks to the beauty and breadth of its beaches, as well as the numerous, important historic-sites, hotels and recreation that visitors can take advantage of. Its beach facilities, clean sea and services offered have been repeatedly awarded the recognition of the Blue Flag of Europe.
Upper Molise and its beauties
This short tour winds through the heart of Italy, perhaps the least known area of our country, but not without its extraordinary beauty. This historical and naturally wondrous route will show you delightful small villages and towns where human history has left its mark since the Paleolithic era and you will admire mountains that in winter offer fun and entertainment to skiers and in summer postcard views and a break from the heat. Here there is a largely untouched nature, rich in Apennine flora and fauna, which you will appreciate by visiting oases and gardens.
The heart of Molise: an authentic land
Located in south-central Italy, Molise extends between the Apennine ridge and the Adriatic Sea. Nature, history, art, ancient traditions and gastronomy are the treasures of this little known region. Visiting Molise means discovering it, starting from its countryside, mainly mountainous and hilly, furrowed by characteristic sheep tracks and historical transhumance routes that unite the Abruzzo pastures with those of Puglia.
The National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise reveals unexpected, magnificent landscapes and the numerous nature reserves protect the plant and animal species endemic to this area.