Holidays in Molise, Italy

Holidays in Molise, Italy

Molise, the little known region along the Adriatic coast is yet to see the tourist trade that its neighbouring areas do, and just one of the reasons why it is truly a fabulous place to discover sooner rather than later. Claiming to be the first capital of Italy, Molise is less than 550 square miles (approx) making it the second smallest region in the country.

With a mountainous centre and a beautiful Adriatic coastline which was recently awarded with the European Blue Flag, it is also said to have some of the most uncontaminated nature in Europe and why UNESCO has chosen this region for two of its four Italian biosphere locations.

Molise is the ‘ankle’ of Italy’s boot with Abruzzo to the north, Puglia to the south and Lazio and Campania to the west. Divided into two provinces, Campobasso and Isernia are both filled with medieval hamlets, ancient ruins, and evergreen forests, all of which are dotted carefree with castles and churches.

Campobasso itself is the capital city of Molise and is the home to the National School for the Carabinieri. It has a bustling heart with a few Romanesque churches. There are bus services to all the smaller villages in the province from Campobasso.

Isernia has been destroyed and re-built twelve times during its rather turbulent history and in 1978, during the construction of a new highway, the oldest and most extensive Palaeolithic settlement in Europe was unearthed simply by accident. Imagine the excitement as workers began to dig down and as they did so uncovered relics dating back over 8,000 years ago. Suspended walkways now allow you to walk a small area of the 320,000 square foot of ruins and includes tools, bone fragments and animal carcasses.

Isernia is also famous for its Fraterna Fountain, erected in the 13th Century by direct descendents of Pontius Pilate himself, it is worthy of a visit when in this part of Molise.

So, let us begin our journey of Molise in the north, in the quaint little fishing port of Termoli with its long sandy beach, 13th Century Cathedral and with its most popular attraction being the fabulous choice of seafood restaurants. Journeying down to the charming hill-top town of Agnone, this place is famed for its factory that produces bronze bells for amongst others, the Roman Catholic capital of the Vatican. Agnone is also well known for its delicious food, artisan workshops and bakeries.

Heading south, we recommend a visit to the highest ancient settlement in Europe. Pietrabbondante is over 3,000 feet above sea level and offers as one can imagine, some of the most wonderful panoramic views of the region. A truly magical spot it was once the sacred gathering point of the Samnites and most certainly worth a visit.

As we travel further south, Pescolanciano is a tiny town with a huge castle and the most fantastically preserved drawbridge still intact. Cero ai Volturno offers a 10th Century castle perched high on a huge rock looking down over the town.
For those who enjoy the unexpected, do stop by the town of Scapoli. Known for its summer bagpipe (zampogna) market, it displays a huge array of bagpipes that were traditionally used by the shepherds of Molise.

Venafro is one of the oldest towns in the region and is known for its olive oil, its Roman Amphi-theatre, semi-circular Samnite meeting house and the beautiful tiny cave church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. And Ferrazzano will be of interest to the film-buffs amongst us. This hill-top town is home to the great Hollywood actor Robert de Niro and locals hold a film festival each year in his honour.A day trip to nearby Rome or Naples is an easy journey from Molise and one that we would recommend should you wish to explore as much as possible during your Italian experience.

Molise Holidays and Molise Food Molise Tours and Shopping in Molise Holidays in Molise and Molise Wines Tours of Molise and Molise Art

A Molise speciality is the Cacio e Uova, lamb cooked in an earthenware pot and served with an egg and sharp cheese. Pork is also popular in Molise from local prosciutto, various types of salami and porchetta (roast suckling pig). 

However, Molise is most noted for its cheeses and includes Pecorino, Caciocavallo and Scamorza.  As we mentioned earlier the olive oil of Molise, in particular that is produced in the town of Venafro is some of the best and has been talked about since Roman times. Seafood along its coastline favours the red mullet, fresh anchovies, swordfish, mussels and clams. And for those with a sweet tooth, Molise serves up a delicious Panettoncino di Mais - a sweet chocolate cake made with corn flour.

 Outdoor markets are some of the most interesting in Italy and food markets are a speciality in Molise.  Indeed there is at least one food market every day in the region, so there is plenty to choose from.
For those who like the finer things in life yet with a lesser price tag, then the outlet mall outside of Isernia town is an ideal spot.  Here you will find labels such as D&G, Just Cavalli and the classic Italian house of Versace.
 There are just three DOC wines produced in Molise, all worthy of mention and sampling!  Biferno named after the largest river in Molise is produced around Campobasso and can be red, white or rose.  Although Pentro wines can be rose and white, the red is a wonderful combination of Montepulciano and Sangiovese.  The Molise is produced all over the region and is said to have all the natural prerequisites for making great wines. 

One of Italy’s smallest regions still lies very much undiscovered, yet there is almost too much to explore here in one lifetime.  Home to some of the most historic archaeological sites, abbeys, sanctuaries, countless castles and medieval towns, from middle ages to Roman ruins, Baroque and Renaissance examples of architecture and art.  Ones to note are that of Pescolanciano, Benedictine Abbey at San Vincenzo al Volturo, Sanctuary of the Addolorata, Castel Petroso and the Sanctuary of Canneto in Roccavivara.

Fine examples of Romanesque architecture include the Church of St George in Petrella Tifernina and the Church of Santa Maria della Strada in Matrice.

Discover Campobosso, steeped in history it is dominated by its most imposing Monforte Castle amongst its other treasures.

If you are considering to spend your Italian villa holiday in Molise, Cottages to Castles are pleased to offer a selection of privately owned and superbly presented Molise villas and Molise rentals. Start looking for your dream Molise villa here.

Agnone, Molise GBP 0
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Agnone, Molise GBP 0
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Simpson Travel

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