Visiting Unknown Italy – Campobasso, Molise


If you are searching for a European tourist destination, you should consider visiting Campobasso, the capital and largest town (only about fifty thousand) of Molise. Located in central Italy, Molise is one of the smallest regions of Italy and only gained regional status in 1963. Campobasso is geographically near Rome, except for the intervening Apennines Mountains. But if you want to visit the real Italy and feel that you are a million miles from Rome culturally, consider touring Campobasso. Be sure that you read the companion article describing other sites in Molise.

Let me state one reason that might, but should not keep you from attending, before I begin telling you why you should visit Campobasso: it’s the weather. This city is nearly one-half mile (700 meters) high, making it one of the coolest towns, weather-wise, in the southern half of Italy. It snows a lot in the winter, the summer has an average temperature of approximately 22 degrees C (72 degrees F), and the fall is rainy. The first two may be quite positive. But the rain is still rain.

You really will want to see the Castello Monforte, located atop of the Sant’Antonio Mountain. This castle was built during the mid-fifteenth century and rebuilt after earthquakes; the first one happened only six years later. It is perched on the hilltop that dominates the town. Traces remain of ancient settlements, including Samnite walls, built before the Christian era. Next to the castle, you will find the Eleventh Century Chiesa della Madonna del Monte (Santa Maria Maggiore Church). Make sure that you don’t miss the Cathedral, also called the Chiesa della Santissima Trinita (Church of the Holy Trinity). It was first built after the turn of the Sixteenth Century. It was rebuilt in a Neoclassical style after an earthquake destroyed it three centuries later. The city includes many other classical churches.

The Museo Provinciale Sannitico (Archeology Museum ) was relatively recently opened in the Palazzo Mazzarotta. It boasts an excellent collection of art and artifacts that are associated with those pre-Roman Samnites. The newly restored Villa de Capoa boasts a lovely garden with statues and quite a wide variety of plant species. This town is also home to the University of Molise, which serves ten thousand students, some of whom are at satellite campuses. And remember, wherever you go, whatever you do, be sure to taste some of the excellent local wines.

About the Author

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but prefers Italian travel and drinking fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods and people. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his Italian travel website which includes an expanded version of this article and lots more.

Where to stay in Campobasso

Hotels and B&Bs in Campobasso: search and reserve here.