Molise, Italy

Molise is an Italian region with ordinary statute in southern Italy of 289 647 inhabitants, with the capital Campobasso.

Founded in 1963 by detachment of the province of Campobasso from the Abruzzo and Molise region, established in 1948, it borders Abruzzo and the Adriatic Sea to the north, Lazio to the west, Campania to the south and Puglia to the east; the provinces are Campobasso and Isernia, the latter established in 1970 by detachment of 52 municipalities from the province of Campobasso. The term "Molise" comes from the first feudal lords of the countryside, who had the surname "De Molisio", while others argue that it derives from the municipality of Molise.

The current territory of Molise, formerly inhabited by the Frentani and the Samnite tribe of the Pentri, was largely included in the Roman region Regio IV Samnium. In the Longobard era, when the territory was subjected to the Duchy of Benevento, the first nucleus of what would later become the County of Molise began to take shape, a territory that only in the modern age would find stable independence from the neighboring Terra di Lavoro and the Captained. The contemporary administrative entity, quite different from the original Contado which excluded large areas, has its origins in the subdivision of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies created during the Napoleonic domination.


Geographic hints

Molise borders Abruzzo to the north, Lazio to the west, Campania to the southwest, Puglia to the southeast, while to the east it is bordered by the Adriatic Sea.


Culture and traditions

Scapoli is the only center where the tradition of bagpipes survives. Scapoli has dedicated a small museum to this musical instrument.

Agnone is a city with an ancient millenary tradition of making bells.

Frosolone is the last Italian village where transhumance is still carried out on foot with Puglia along the millenary sheep tracks.


Events and festivals

Good Friday processions in Campobasso and Isernia;
Festival of Mysteries in Campobasso;
Procession of Capracotta;
Wheat Festival in Jelsi;
Wine festival in Riccia;
Fish festival in Termoli;
'Ndocciata, the greatest rite in the world linked to fire, in Agnone;
Baloma Bikers motorcycle rally in Cercemaggiore;
Armageddon in the park in Termoli;
Sannita Teatro Festival (classical theatrical events) in Pietrabbondante.


Territories and tourist destinations

Molise Apennines — The Apennine area includes almost the entire territory of the Region crossed by the Apennines. Among the tourist centers we must mention Capracotta, a ski resort at an altitude of 1460 meters and the nearby San Pietro Avellana, surrounded by beech trees and nicknamed "the homeland of the white truffle". Pescopennataro is defined as the town of fir trees, due to the woods that surround it. Vastogirardi is the base for excursions to the State forest of Pennataro. Pietrabbondante with its famous archaeological area represents the most important cultural and religious center of the Samnite peoples.
The two mountain groups of tourist importance are located on the borders of Molise and are shared with the neighboring regions of Lazio, Abruzzo and Campania.

Monti della Meta — They rise on the border with Lazio and Abruzzo and culminate in Monte Petroso of 2247 a.s.l. The lowest reliefs of the range are called Mainarde. From Pizzone, via a provincial road, you reach the plain just below Campitello, called "Pianoro delle Forme" or Valle Fiorita, from where you can begin the ascent to Monte Meta (2,242 metres). Cerro al Volturno is another Molise village on the edge of the Abruzzo National Park and is surrounded by woods
Massiccio del Matese — It extends along the border with Campania and reaches 2050 meters with Mount Miletto. The north-western side of the chain belongs to the territory of Molise. The ski resorts of Bocca della Selva and Campitello Matese are located on the Matese mountains, there are also the Matese lake of glacial origin and the natural oasis of Guardiaregia

Cities that boast an important historic center are Isernia, Venafro, Agnone.

The part of the territory that extends between the highest peaks to the west and the eastern Adriatic coast is the most hilly area of central Molise, whose reference point is the regional capital Campobasso; other centers of good interest and with an important past are Bojano and Trivento

Molise coast — The Molise coast extends for just 35 km on the Adriatic Sea and includes, in addition to the port of Termoli, the small seaside resorts of Campomarino, Marina di Montenero and Marina di Petacciato. The more inland towns of Larino, which shares the role of service center for the area, Guglionesi, Portocannone, also fall within the coastal area by tradition, vocation and cultural ties.
Countries with an Albanian tradition — Close to the coast there are countries where Albanians fled from their native lands in the 15th century as a result of the Ottoman invasion and the death of their national hero Giorgio Castriota Skanderbeg. Albanophone centers are Campomarino, Ururi, Montecilfone and Portocannone.


Urban centers

Campobasso - The old city develops on a hill around the castle in a dominant position. The modern city has developed in the plan. It is the most populous center of Molise, of which it is the regional capital.
Isernia — Among the first documented Paleolithic settlements in Europe, it was then a flourishing Samnite city, capital of the Italic League, later a Roman Municipium. Its millennial past has left it an important monumental heritage that extends up to the pre-Roman era, as well as very important prehistoric finds.
Termoli - It is the main center of the Molise coast and the second largest city in the region by number of inhabitants. Its ancient nucleus, with the cathedral and fortifications, stands on a promontory overlooking the sea.
Larino — City with a remarkable past, boasts a beautiful medieval village; its cathedral is among the best monuments of Molise. After Termoli it is the most important center of attraction on the Molise coast.
Bojano - It was a powerful Samnite city, then a Roman center. In the Middle Ages it became an episcopal seat. It retains a beautiful historic center full of churches, in addition to the cathedral.
Venafro — Its long belonging to Campania emerges in the dialect and in the traditions. City of the Samnites, then a Roman colony, alongside the vestiges of the empire there is an important medieval urban heritage, in which the numerous churches stand out, unfortunately many of them deteriorated.
Agnone — Ancient Samnite city, known worldwide for the traditional and centuries-old handcrafted construction of bells, has an interesting historic center and an expanding range of tourist infrastructures.
Trivento - Ancient bishopric, in its cathedral there is a crypt of particular historical-architectural value dating back to the 11th-12th century.


How to get

By plane
Molise does not have airports. The closest one is in Pescara. Another airport to take into consideration is that of Rome-Fiumicino. The ATM regional bus lines operate a connection with the Tiburtina station in Rome where trains pass to Fiumicino airport and another one for Pescara.

By car
The region is crossed only by the Adriatic motorway, while at the regional level the road network is based on a system of state and provincial roads.

On boat
The port of Termoli is connected by hydrofoils and passenger ships to the Tremiti islands and to some places in Dalmatia. Termoli also has a tourist port, the Marina di San Pietro inaugurated in 2011.

On the train
The main Molise line is the Adriatic Directrix, which crosses the region along the coast. Beyond this, there are complementary lines:

Benevento-Campobasso railway
Campobasso-Termoli railway
Isernia-Campobasso railway
Sulmona-Isernia railway
Vairano-Isernia railway


What to see

If you are looking for culture in the region there are several museums including the Palaeolithic one in Isernia and the Samnite one in Campobasso. In the regional capital there are also the Museum of mysteries and the Museum of nativity scenes. Numerous ancient churches and castles that preserve ancient memories.

Isernia "La Pineta" is a Palaeolithic archaeological site discovered by chance in 1979 in conjunction with the works for the opening of the Naples-Vasto highway. The finds are exhibited in the Palaeolithic museum of Isernia.

Roman and pre-Roman times
For those wishing to retrace the footsteps of the Samnites who inflicted the crushing defeat of the Caudine Forks on the Romans, Molise has several archaeological sites. The most interesting vestiges are in Pietrabbondante. Other Samnite centers were discovered in Campochiaro, Vastogirardi and Carovilli. However, these are sites of specialist interest. The finds are exhibited in the New Samnite Provincial Museum of Campobasso. The archaeological park of Sepino (Saepinum) is the best example of a Roman settlement in the land of Molise. Venafro, the ancient Colonia Augusta Julia Venafrum, still retains the shape of the Roman castro in its urban layout. In Venafro there are also the ruins of an aqueduct and an amphitheater. Larino, major center of the Frentani and mentioned by Cicero also preserves the ruins of an amphitheater from the end of the 1st century AD. In the Middle Ages it was used as a stone quarry and today it is surrounded by very banal-looking condominium buildings.

Middle Ages
Made between the 5th and 6th century AD. the Monastery of San Vincenzo al Volturno is located less than 1 km from the sources of the river and stands out for its frescoes from the Byzantine era. The cathedral of Venafro still retains its Romanesque structure. The 14th century church of San Francesco in Agnone has original Gothic elements such as the Gothic portal while the interior has a Baroque appearance.

Renaissance and Mannerism
Modest examples in the field of civic architecture are some noble residences obtained from medieval castles such as the baronial castle Carafa in Ferrazzano and that of Carpinone which, although in a state of ruins, still retains its majestic appearance. Also worth mentioning is the Monforte Castle which dominates the city of Campobasso. Of a rather severe appearance, it was restored in 1456 on commission from Count Nicola II Monforte.

Baroque and Rococo period
Art of the 1800s and 1900s
The neoclassical style is well documented in Molise. The ruinous earthquake of 1805 imposed reconstruction works. Prominent examples are the cathedral of Campobasso and that of Isernia. the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows in Castelpetroso and the graceful "Fontana fraterna" in Isernia are the best examples of the neo-Gothic style and eclectic art in general prevailing at the end of the 19th century.

Medieval village of Termoli
Church in the rock of Pietracupa
Angevin Castle of Civitacampomarano
Sanfelice Castle in Bagnoli del Trigno

Contemporary art
Museum of Contemporary Art of Termoli (MACTE), Via Japan, Termoli, ☎ +39 0875808025. The building is the result of the renovation and new design of an old local market. Of the previous structure, the circular plan and the lateral modules remain, where once there were the seven boxes intended for sale. Today the central square is a space that hosts temporary exhibitions and conferences, while the works of the Termoli Prize Collection are exhibited in the seven exhibition halls.

Natural reserves
National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise
Historical agricultural regional park of the Venafro olive tree
Guardiaregia Natural Oasis | Guardiaregia-Campochiaro Regional Nature Reserve (WWF Oasis)
Collemeluccio Nature Reserve - Montedimezzo Nature Reserve (MAB Collemeluccio-Montedimezzo Alto Molise Reserve)
Peaches nature reserve
Torrente Callora nature reserve
Lipu Oasis of Casacalenda



Castles in the province of Isernia — There are numerous castles in the Molise Apennines in the towns of Upper Molise, Isernino and Venafrano. Some are in ruins due to war or earthquakes; others have been recovered; many have a military appearance, with little or no external architectural evolution of transformation into a stately home.


What to do

In addition to visiting the interesting local festivals in the villages, it is possible to indulge in snow sports thanks to the ski resorts of Campitello Matese and Capracotta. There are numerous nature trails, paths and trails to be made on foot, by bike and on horseback.

For lovers of the sea there is the Termoli area which comes alive in the summer, filling up with tourists from all over the world. From here it is possible to take the ferry to reach the Tremiti Islands.

For young people, entertainment is centered especially in local discos and pubs, especially in the capital. However, there are sports centers, wellness centers, farmhouses, bowling alleys, golf courses, go-kart tracks, riding stables and more.



Pampanella Pork dish cooked in the oven and abundantly spiced. The dish originates from the village of San Martino in Pensilis.
Panonta — Originally from the town of Miranda, Panonta is fresh pork sausage garnished with peppers, grated pecorino cheese, parsley and garlic.
Pezzata — Originally from Capracotta, Pezzata is a sheep meat dish cooked over low heat in copper pots and seasoned with aromatic herbs.
Cazzarielli con fagioli — Fresh pasta similar to small dumplings seasoned with borlotti beans fried together with bacon, chilli pepper and chopped celery, onion, carrot and then boiled in abundant tomato sauce.
U' bredette (Fish Brodetto) — Born as a poor dish of Adriatic fishermen, fish brodetto is a typical dish of Termoli which differs from the others in the differentiated cooking of the various species of fish and in the use of peppers. The official recipe was signed by a notary and registered as "Brodetto di Tornola" on the initiative of the Termoli section of the Italian Academy of Cuisine.
Cacio e Eggs — balls of cheese and breadcrumbs cooked in a full-bodied tomato sauce.
Torcinelli — lamb casings stuffed with lamb sweetbreads. Usually, it is eaten cooked over coals, but sometimes it is also eaten with meat sauce.
Rattura pizza — a pizza bread created from flour leftovers from the oven that are remixed, salted and oiled in the right way, generally goes well with sauces and cold cuts. Typical of Castelmauro.
Friarielli — fried green peppers.
Sfrongioni — sausage-shaped fried batter.
Cavatelli — fresh handmade pasta, usually seasoned with sauce.
Pizza and soup — country vegetables and a pizza made with cornmeal.

Caragnoli — Typical helicoidal sweets prepared for Christmas and Carnival with a mixture of flour and eggs which, after being fried in olive oil, is sprinkled with honey.
Milk pan — This dessert owes its birth to Molise and more exactly to a well-known pastry shop in Campobasso.

Typical products
Truffle — Widespread in the Matese mountains and in the Mainarde. The villages in Molise best known for truffle harvesting are Carovilli and San Pietro Avellana. The latter is called "the Homeland of the White Truffle" (prepared to season fettuccine)
Olive oil — "La bella del Molise" is the name of the olive, particularly known in Larino, but not only, which produces a fragrant and tasty oil unique in Italy.

Stracciata — An elongated dairy product made from cow's milk.
Burrino — Typical southern Italian stretched curd cheese made from cow's milk, with a heart of butter.
Pecorino di Capracotta — Cheese made from aromatic sheep's milk and a little spicy if aged. It has a hard hazelnut crust and a compact texture with rare watery eyes. The maturation phase can last from 3 months up to 2 years.
Scamorza Molisana — Produced with milk from alpine brown cows raised in wild pastures, it has the characteristic shape of a pear with a severed head. Consumed fresh or after a few days, it is excellent grilled.

Cured meats and sausages
Pietracatella sausage — Made with pork with a large amount of fat, salt, wild fennel, sweet and spicy pepper.
Soppressata molisana — Obtained from slightly smoked pork, it is eaten after maturing or preserved in fat in glass jars, but also in crates containing grain to keep the product fragrant in the summer.
Each country then has its own typical products that follow ancient traditions handed down from generation to generation. An advice to those who decide to visit Molise is to explore these places and their typical products, you can rediscover a simple but wonderful cuisine.



In the small territory of Molise, four DOC wines are produced:

Tintilia del Molise — Obtained from a native vine of Molise, Tintilia is a red and rosé wine with an intense flavor and a strong colour. It follows the Molise tradition according to which good wine must "stain" the glass.
Pentro di Isernia — It is a white wine with an intense flavour.
Biferno — White, red and rosé, it is one of the most prestigious in the region.
Molise DOC — A red wine bottled in several variants, each with its own grape variety which clearly prevails over the others.



Molise is among the quietest regions of Italy, always exercise your common sense.



The Region is characterized by some peculiarities:
it is the youngest administrative region of the country, having been established as an entity only in 1963 by detachment from another: as a territorial unit it was created in 1221 with the name of Contado di Molise by Federico II, however with very different characteristics from the current territory , given that in its original formation it excluded the entire coast, a good part of Upper Molise, and the Volturno, furthermore it depended on the Terra di Lavoro and later on the Capitanata. It was split by constitutional derogation from the ancient region of Abruzzi and Molise and became the twentieth region of Italy, initially with only the province of Campobasso, and from 1970 also with the province of Isernia. In reality, the previous region of Abruzzo and Molise, understood as a bureaucratic-administrative institution, like all regions with ordinary statute, had never been activated and therefore the two regions began to function independently in 1970;
it is the smallest and least populous region with an ordinary statute in the country;
in the territory of the region, and in particular in that of the municipality of Termoli, passes the reference meridian for the CET time zone, which establishes the time in Italy and a large part of Europe, in fact called Termoli-Etna.
it is the only region in which the regional elections were canceled on two occasions, the 2000 elections and the 2011 elections, and both appeals involved the former governor Angelo Michele Iorio.


Physical geography

With its 4438 km² it is the second smallest region in Italy after the Valle d'Aosta (it is the smallest among those with an ordinary statute), its surface is divided almost equally between mountain areas, 55.3% of the territory, and hilly areas, for 44.7% of the territory. The mountainous area extends between the Abruzzo Apennines and the Samnite Apennines.

The Monti della Meta (2247 m) and the Mainarde form the meeting point of the border line between Molise, Abruzzo and Lazio, then there are the Monti del Matese which run along the border with Campania and reach the 2050 meters with Mount Miletto. To the east, the Sub-Apennine area (Monti Frentani) slopes down towards the sea with gentle, rounded hills. The flat areas are few and small, the main ones being the plain of Bojano (CB) in central Molise, to the west the plain of Venafro (IS) and two smaller ones towards the sea the "Piana di Larino" and Pantano Basso in Termoli . The Bocca di Forlì, or Passo di Rionero, (891 m a.s.l.) conventionally marks the geographical limit between central and southern Italy.

The climate is Mediterranean, especially along the coasts, with generally cool, rainy winters and hot summers. On the coast the climate is milder, as you go inland it becomes cooler and temperatures drop considerably.



The main rivers of the region are the Trigno, which marks part of the border with Abruzzo, the Biferno, and the Fortore, on the border with Puglia. The Biferno is the only river that is born, flows and flows entirely in the Molise region, more precisely in the province of Campobasso. Its springs give many waters. The Volturno is also born in Molise, which with a length of 175 km and a basin extending for 5,550 km², is the main river of southern Italy both in terms of length and flow rate. Part of the Sangro river also flows in the regional territory, and the Tammaro river is born. Other important torrents are the Verrino, the Saccione, the Cigno, the Sente, the Tappino, the Quirino. The considerable abundance of water resources in Molise makes it possible to satisfy the needs of Campania, Puglia and Abruzzo as well as obviously of the same region.



The Biferno river was blocked by an artificial reservoir in the seventies, the Liscione dam, and thus Guardialfiera lake was formed, the largest in the area. Another lake of great importance is that of Occhito which runs along the border between Molise and Puglia for several kilometres. Furthermore, among the Molise Mainarde stands the artificial basin of Castel San Vincenzo (IS), built at the end of the fifties and which is part of the Molise area of the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park, the Chiauci dam which blocks the Trigno river and inaugurated in 2011 and finally the Arcichiaro dam on the Quirino stream in the municipality of Guardiaregia. Natural lakes are few, extremely small and seasonal in nature, such as the Campitello Matese lake, the Carpinone lake, the Civitanova lake and Serra del Lago in Colli a Volturno.



The coast of Molise is 36 km long and is bathed by the Adriatic Sea.

The coast is low and sandy except for the promontory of Termoli, in the shelter of which the artificial port was built from where ships leave all year round for the Tremiti Islands (located in the province of Foggia); along the coasts there are also some flat bands, no more than a few kilometers wide. The formation of coastal dunes caused the stagnation of the waters of the streams with the consequent formation of marshes, which have however been eliminated for some time with reclamation works.



In Molise, which includes the Mainarde sector of the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise national park, there are further vast wooded areas, especially in the province of Isernia. Of notable importance are the WWF oases (Monte Mutria and the Guardiaregia-Campochiaro oasis), the LIPU Bosco Casale di Casacalenda (CB) oasis, the Pesche (IS) nature reserve (the first born in the region in 1982) , the Le Mortine oasis in the Volturno river basin near Venafro (IS), the Matese massif, two MAB reserves (the Collemeluccio nature reserve with its extensions of silver fir woods, and the Montedimezzo nature reserve, first in Italy to be included in the list), the oasis of Legambiente "Selva Castiglione" in Carovilli (IS), the Torrente Callora nature reserve in Roccamandolfi (IS), the garden of the Apennine flora of Capracotta and the "river park del Volturno" in Colli a Volturno (IS). Also noteworthy is the presence on the regional territory of the historical agricultural regional park of the Venafro olive tree, the only agricultural park in Molise, recognized with a regional law dating back to 2008, and the cenozoic morge park of Molise. In December 2017 the Matese national park was approved.

The fauna is characterized by the presence of roe deer, deer, wild boar, fallow deer, otters, Apennine wolves, Marsican brown bears and foxes. Resident avian fauna includes peregrine falcons, kestrels.



Ancient era: Samnites and Romans

Evidence of human life in Molise dates back to the Paleolithic, as demonstrated by the archaeological site of "Isernia La Pineta", where the skeleton of "Homo Aeserniensis", one of the oldest in Italy, was also found.
In pre-Roman times, Molise was part of Sannio, a territory inhabited by populations of Samnite lineage. The population of shepherds-warriors was mainly stationed in the area of Isernia, city of the Pentri and in the countryside of Campobasso, then a simple point of control, where the Sanniti Pentri communicated with the Frentani. The social life of the Samnites focused on the defense of the territory, on the veneration of local divinities such as Hercules, and the Dioscuri, divinities mainly venerated by the soldiers who defended the citadels. The Samnite population, settled in the territory from the eighth century BC. around, began to have the first contacts with Rome from the 4th century BC, which will lead to the well-known "Samnite wars" during the expansionist aims of the City.
Cities like Bojano and Isernia were heavily involved in the second and third Samnite wars, eventually being subjected to Roman power. It was later conquered by the Romans and integrated into the system of its imperium (88 BC), after the Italians attempted yet another desperate revolt against Sulla, having gathered in the "Italic League" in Corfinio (AQ). Exactly during the rule of Augustus, the territory was divided into the Regio IV Samnium. This region also included a large part of Abruzzo (Marsica, Frentania, land of the Marrucini and Valle Peligna). At the time the major cities of Molise were Bojano (Bovianum Vetus), Venafro (Venafrum) and Isernia (Aesernia).

The cities rebuilt almost from scratch according to the schemes of the Urbe date back to Roman times, the archaeological sites of which are still fairly preserved; of the previous period, however, only a few traces remain, identifiable mostly in the remains of wall fortifications with lookout towers, built by the Samnites during the wars of the III-II century BC.
In the major cities, the same Samnite patrician families such as the Staii, the Decitii and the Neratii promoted avant-garde constructions, such as baths, theaters, new temples, also reformulating the urban road axis, making it conform to the Roman decumani. Clear examples are the ancient cities of Altilia (Terravecchia) in Sepino, the amphitheater of Venafro and the same urban layout of the current city, and the temple complex of Pietrabbondante.


Middle Ages: from the Longobards to the County of Molise (VIII - XIII century)

In the late ancient period, the Molise territory went through a phase of progressive decline, both economically and demographically: upon their arrival the Longobards found a region without significant urban centers and depopulated.

Under the dominion of the Longobard Duchy of Benevento, the territory of Molise is organized into various gastaldati, including that of Bojano: it seems to have been created around 667 through the concession of the Longobard King Grimoaldo to the Bulgarian leader Alzeco, who became the first steward of an almost uninhabited area.

The Longobard presence has left numerous traces: a substantial part of the inhabited centers of the region dates back to this period; the promotion of the cult of San Michele Arcangelo and the consequent construction of churches dedicated to the saint are due to the Lombards. Lastly, the construction of the abbey of San Vincenzo al Volturno should be mentioned. In 1045 the Norman leader Rodolfo di Moulins, who descended into southern Italy with the Altavillas, obtained the County of Bojano.

It is with the arrival of the Normans and the de' Moulins family, between the end of the 11th century and the beginning of the 12th century, in fact, that the toponym Comitatus Molisii begins to establish itself, referring precisely to the county of Bojano, which , at the same time, had incorporated other counties where other feudal lordships ruled.

The domain of the family died out towards the end of the 12th century; this condition also determined the end of the County, which was divided into small fiefdoms.

With the reforms of Frederick II of Swabia, the County of Molise became the seat of the executioner (Justitiaratus Molisii), i.e. a district of imperial justice, where the king's authority overlapped with that of the feudal lords. In reality, the administration of Molise was joint to that of Terra di Lavoro, which together formed a single district called Justitiaratus Molisii et Terra Laboris.

Modern era: from the 16th century to 1806
The two territories shared the same avenger until the 16th century, when from 1538 Molise, while remaining a distinct entity, was detached from the Terra di Lavoro and aggregated to the Capitanata. The aggregation to the Capitanata ceased in 1806, when with the law 132 "On the division and administration of the provinces of the Kingdom" launched by Giuseppe Bonaparte, the French administrative model based on the Provinces was extended to the Kingdom of Naples.

There were then in the following years up to 1811, a series of royal decrees which completed the process of institution of the provinces. On the basis of the aforementioned reform of 1806, therefore, the separation of the County of Molise from the Capitanata was established. The process of defining the boundaries ended in 1811 and the province of Molise reached almost the entire size of the current Region of Molise.

From 1 January 1817, the administrative organization was definitively regulated with the Law concerning the administrative district of the Provinces of the Royal Domains on this side of Faro dated 1 May 1816.

This was a period of isolation and serious economic and social crisis, given the presence of numerous bands of brigands in the area.


From 1806 to 1811: province of Molise

With the French invasion, officially on 27 September 1806, with the law 132 of 1806 On the division and administration of the provinces of the Kingdom, launched on 8 August of that year, with Napoleon, Molise became an autonomous province for the first time called the Province of Molise with Campobasso as the capital and which was divided into three districts:

District of Campobasso, since 1806;
District of Isernia, since 1806;
District of Larino, established in 1806 as part of the Capitanata and (with territorial changes) aggregated to Molise in 1811.

From 1811 to 1962
nineteenth century

The province of Molise had a strong development thanks to the infrastructural works and the policies implemented by the King of Naples Gioacchino Murat (who succeeded Giuseppe Bonaparte) starting from 1811, and the annexation of Larino, Venafro and part of the Volturno Valley .

From the time of the Kingdom of Naples, the Molise territory was actually included in four different executioners: the County of Molise, Abruzzo Citeriore, the Terra di Lavoro and the Capitanata; it is still possible to find dialectal, gastronomic and folkloric differences between these four areas. With the annexation to the Kingdom of Italy, many rebellions broke out in the region which were only completely put down at the end of the 19th century.

Early twentieth century and Fascist period
During the Fascist period, two foundation cities were built in Molise: Nuova Cliternia, a fraction of Campomarino and Castellino Nuovo, which was supposed to replace the old village of Castellino del Biferno, as it was located on an area at high hydrogeological risk. Campobasso was the subject of a substantial plan of urban interventions and, unlike Isernia, was affected by the policies in favor of the birth rate carried out by the regime, registering a growth from 16,413 to 22,525 inhabitants in the twenty years 1921-1941. The rural attitude of Molise was exalted (in 1936, 80% of the inhabitants were dedicated to agriculture). At least two civilian internment camps were built during the war in Molise: one in Isernia, with 139 prisoners, and the other in Agnone, with 155 prisoners.


Second World War

During the Second World War, the Molise area was affected by hard fighting (it was in fact crossed by 4 German defensive lines: the Barbara or Trigno line, the Bernhardt line, the Viktor line and the Gustav line) which caused about 1,250 victims civilians, of which about 500 in the Allied bombing of Isernia, and mostly ended in October 1943, with the Allied landing in Termoli (CB), which led to the surrender of the Germans in the main inhabited centers within a few weeks Molise (on 12 October the Germans surrendered in Larino, on 24 in Bojano, by the beginning of November 1943 the Trigno valley was liberated and by 19 December the entire province of Campobasso was completely liberated). The Mainarde area, on the other hand, was affected by fighting until 1944, with the victory of the Italian Liberation Corps in the battle of Monte Marrone, on the border with Lazio.

At the end of the conflict, in the 1946 referendum on the institutional form of the state, 68.5% of Molise voted for the Monarchy. At the first elections, Molise turned out to be a stronghold of the Christian Democrats, which gathered 58% of the votes there in 1948, 46% in 1953 and 55% in 1958, to the detriment of socialists and communists. In the post-war period, the consensus for monarchist parties also remained higher than the national average.

Since 1963: Molise region
In 1963, thanks to a transitional provision which allowed for derogation from the limits imposed by art. 132 of the Italian Constitution such as the referendum and the limit of one million inhabitants, the province of Campobasso, with just over 300,000 inhabitants, was detached without a referendum from the pre-existing region of Abruzzo and Molise and included in the new region called Molise, of which Campobasso became capital. On March 3, 1970, a part of its territory was split off and established as the province of Isernia, with Isernia as the capital. Molise is therefore, with the two provinces of Campobasso and Isernia, the twentieth and youngest region of Italy.



The Molise area has suffered the consequences in historical times of several Apennine earthquakes among which are mentioned:
the central-southern Apennine earthquake of 1349: earthquake of magnitude 6.7 which affected the part of the Kingdom of Naples between Isernia, Reatino and L'Aquila, with probable epicenter located in the Venafra area, causing collapses of the main structures of the city, which required new rebuilding, especially in Venafro, Isernia, Cassino and L'Aquila and collapses were also reported in Rome.
the central-southern Italy earthquake of 1456: of magnitude 7.1, with its epicenter between Sannio and Irpinia, which destroyed many municipalities and seriously damaged cities such as Sulmona, Campobasso and Naples.
the Molise earthquake of 1805: disastrous earthquake of magnitude 6.6 (also called "Sant'Anna" due to the July night in which it occurred), which occurred in the Matese massif, between Bojano and Benevento, which destroyed many villages in Molise, which they were rebuilt almost from scratch, upsetting the medieval aspect of Campobasso itself, and also causing damage to Isernia.
the central-southern Italy earthquake of 1984: of magnitude 5.9, which occurred in the Comino Valley in Lazio, damaged the Molise towns of the Isernina area on the border with Abruzzo such as San Pietro Avellana and Castel del Giudice and the municipalities of the Volturno Valley such as Acquaviva d'Isernia, Pizzone and Colli a Volturno.
the 2002 Molise earthquake: of magnitude 5.7, which occurred on 31 October near San Giuliano di Puglia, also affecting the municipalities of Castellino del Biferno, Provvidenti and Santa Croce di Magliano. The sad story of the collapse of the elementary school in San Giuliano is famous, in which a teacher and 27 children perished.