Exploring the Lesser-Known Region of Molise, in Italy


Tucked down in the southern part of Italy, right above the spur and boot, is the coastal region of Molise. It is the youngest region in the country, as it only split away from its neighbor in 1963. Italian villas in this area are perfect for exploring the Adriatic Coast, with its beautiful blue waters and Mediterranean vegetation just a stone throw away.

Although the region is not one of the most popular ones, this benefits the independent traveler. Here, you can still feel like you are discovering something new, exciting, and authentically Italian. Villas near the sea make a great base to explore the coast, while those nearer the Apennine Ridge will take you into the heart of the Italian countryside. While you are in the region, there are some places that you must visit, including Campobasso, Isernia, and the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio, and Molise.


Campobasso is thought to have been founded before the 8th century as a fortified village where the castle now stands. It still provides an outstanding and imposing city that you can visit while staying in one of the excellently located Italian villas around Molise. The old town is home to the Castle Monforte, which was rebuilt in the 16th century by Count Nicholas II Monteforte, after the epic earthquake. The massive castle is an impressive symbol of the city, with its square ramparts and panoramic views. Besides the castle, the town also boasts a cathedral, built in 1504 and reconstructed in 1805; the Romanesque Church of Saint Bartholomew; and the 12th-century Gothic church of San Giorgio. You should also stop into the Museo del Presepe, in the old town, to learn more about the antique recreations of the nativity scene.


Still reflecting the layout of an ancient Roman town, Isernia is a must-see if you are interested in history. The city was founded some 700,000 years ago, and in fact, is home to some of the oldest human remains ever found. Though the city has faced a lot of destruction over the centuries – with earthquakes and wars – it was and is resilient. While there, be sure to stroll along the streets, taking note of their distinct layout, then head out to see the Fraterna Fountain, which was built in the 13th century out of Roman ruins.

The National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio, and Molise

Often still just called Abruzzo National Park, the national park that covers these three regions is vast and filled with an exciting variety of flora and fauna. Staying in Italian villas near the park gives you the perfect excuse to enjoy some of the most unspoiled natural preserves in the country. The park was founded in 1922. It now plays a vital role in the conservation of animals like the bear and wolf. The best way to explore the park is by a horseback ride or cycling tour, which will allow you to experience the wild spaces.

About the Author

Jonathan Magoni is Senior Manager of Cottages to Castles, a family-owned company specializing in high-quality holiday villas, apartments, and cottages in Italy. For spectacular Italian villas in Tuscany, Sicily, the Italian lakes, ski resorts or city centers, we offer only the very best. Discover Italy at your own pace and without time restrictions in our hand-picked villas and cottages.

Where to stay in Campobasso

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

Where to stay in Isernia

Hotels, guesthouses, and B&Bs in Isernia: search and reserve here.

A few items from Abruzzo

La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy
Fifty years ago, a group of Italian scholars gathered to discuss a problem: how to preserve traditional Italian cooking. They formed the Italian Academy of Cuisine to document classic recipes from every region. The academy’s more than seven thousand associates spread out to villages everywhere, interviewing grandmothers and farmers at their stoves, transcribing their recipes—many of which had never been documented before. This is the culmination of that research, an astounding feat—2,000 recipes that represent the patrimony of Italian country cooking. Each recipe is labeled with its region of origin, and it’s not just the ingredients but also the techniques that change with the geography. Sprinkled throughout are historical recipes that provide fascinating views into the folk culture of the past. There are no fancy flourishes here, and no shortcuts; this is true salt-of-the-earth cooking. The book is an excellent everyday source for easily achievable recipes, with such simple dishes as White Bean and Escarole Soup, Polenta with Tomato Sauce, and Chicken with Lemon and Capers. For ease of use there are four different indexes. La Cucina is an essential reference for every cook’s library.

Grazing In Abruzzo
Bruce Franchini (Director), Lidia Bastianich (Actor)
Lidia loves the region of Abruzzo! She describes the people there as welcoming, giving and jovial, and the hearty food of the region has left her with such fond memories. In the Abruzzese kitchens, Farro, a kind of wheat berry, is cooked as a whole grain and is manufactured in many shapes-both by small artisanal pasta makers and larger pasta companies. She makes this pasta with arugula and ricotta. Following her main course of Lamb with Olives, she creates the deliciously fun Scrippelle-which look like fettuccine-and tosses them in a hot caramel, citrus and apricot sauce for dessert.

Abruzzo. History and art guide
by Latini M. L. (Author)
Although it is a bit too synthetic, to the detriment of the overall readability of the text, the work provides an exhaustive description of the artistic heritage of Abruzzo, inserting points for observation not always recognized. Recommended.

Abruzzo 1st Edition
by Michael Kenna
Abruzzo, located in southern Italy, is known as the green region of Europe because of the system of parks and nature reserves covering more than one-third of its territory. In Abruzzo, Michael Kenna found a cultural identity that elsewhere, for the most part, has been lost to globalization and instant communication. Kenna photographed medieval ruins, ancient villages and a countryside rich in traditional cultivation. As curator Vincenzo de Pompeis writes in the book s introduction, 'Abruzzo's heritage, together with its impressive natural scenery, brings to mind romantic connotations that have historically attracted many international landscape artists, particularly in the 19th century. Michael Kenna fits perfectly into this rich historical vein of celebrated landscape artists who have worked in Abruzzo. Kenna's work often evokes the influences of Romanticism. In his photographs of historic rural landscapes, for example, there is an air of melancholy, which accompanies memories from the past. His images of ruins stir up feelings of passing time, of the constantly evolving ties between history and nature.' This gorgeous new monograph by renowned landscape photographer Michael Kenna is published to coincide with a major museum exhibition in Loreto Aprutino, Italy. Richly printed in duotone on matt art paper, and presented in an olive-green cloth slipcase with black debossed text on one side and a tipped-in image on the other, Abruzzo presents 65 images from the series, published here for the first time.

Michelin Map Italy: Abruzzo, Molise 361 (Maps/Local (Michelin))
Michelin created its first travel guide over 100 years ago to promote road travel and inspire driving confidence. Today, Michelin Travel & Lifestyle offers travelers an extensive range of travel guides, maps and online travel resources. These products deliver the same Michelin promise of quality and consistency consumers expect from one of the world's most trusted brands.
Publisher of travel guides, maps and atlases, Michelin Travel & Lifestyle offers a complete travel portfolio. Where to go, how to get there, where to eat & stay, and what to see & do ... all in one collection with extensive international & domestic coverage, especially for Europe. Our series includes Michelin (Red) Guides, Green Guides, Must Sees and Michelin maps and atlases.

Canti Della Terra D'Abruzzo
Ettore Montanaro
Buy MP3: all 51 at the same time, or each one individually.

Italian Folk Songs from Abruzzo 1927-1930
CD and MP3 reissue of the freat italian folk duo. Comes with rich notes and photos of the couple as well. Pasquale and Clara Sciascia immigrated to the U. S. from the Abruzzo region of Italy, settling in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From 1927 to 1933 they recorded 44 songs fro the Victor, Columbia and Brunswick record companies. The Sciascias were the first to record a number of Italian and Abruzzese folk songs, 14 of which are reissued here for the first time in 90 years. The songs feature wonderful duet singing and exquisite string band accompaniment. Also included are notes on the couple and their music, photos, and the transcribed and translated lyrics. Includes 20 page booklet.