molise borders on campania, puglia, abruzzo and lazio. it extends over a surface of 4400 square kilometres. it is divided into 2 provinces - campobasso e isernia. the regional administrative centre is campobasso.
it is an extraordinary region, rich in historical memories, architecture, popular traditions and an uncontaminated nature.
the molise does not offer unearth cities or great itineraries for mass tourism, but precious treasures to be discovered through courses and itineraries to be enjoyed in the simplicity and serenity of a sweet, safe and quiet land.
its territory - which covers a bit over 4,400 km between the rivers sangro and fortore, the peaks of matese and the adriatic coast - there is a continuous alternation of hills and mountains dotted with small towns and villages, suburbs and isolated cottages, which seem poised on cliffs or almost hidden in valleys, neverthless all of them custodians of a life fit for men. not even the national highway network disturbed the discretion of this land crossed by large motorways only at the two extremities at east and west, with the entrances to vasto and termoli. it takes less than two hours by car from the first entrance to the other one, in this land of strong contrast, but where nature and countryside are never in conflict with each other.
The touristic offer of this region can boast differences, peculiarities, exclusivities, that is resources that overcome the common indefiniteness to make itself unique. First of all environment which, apart from the charming and attracting landscape, finds its "specificity" in the Biosphere Reserves, two authentic naturalistic oases where UNESCO carries out its research on the relation man-nature and which are enjoyable on a touristic level only through a guided visit -offered by the State - through the State forests of Isernia which administers them. Besides these two exclusivities there are the Dolomitic Mainarde, in the Molise part of Abruzzi National Park, the Upper Molise Norway spruces and Matese and Frosolone Montagnola beech-woods which, despite the appearance of being sources of scarce value and peculiarity, have proved to be highly prestigious naturalistic offers as well. Through the green dominating this world, there are the sheep-tracks: the ancient transhumance roads. These roads, 111mt wide, constituted for centuries the motorways of ancient times, with grass in place of asphalt and lateral hedges instead of metal guardrail. Going through them on foot or on horseback means recovering that bit of laziness and silence so necessary to today's society, characterized by rush and noise. Several entrepreneurial structures - offering horseriding, lodging, etc. - have started up to work for these different sheep-track itineraries. The Molise "uniqueness" implies the strong signals coming from the field of monuments: from archaeological parks to castels, from churches to monasteries. Also in this field the Molise has a role to play, particularly with reference to every time great civilizations: from the prehistorical to the ancient and the medieval ones. In the outskirts of Isernia the structure of a village ante litteram has been unearthed where the oldest European community lived in an organized way, working stones, using fire, painting with ochre, consolidating the soil (this was the first improvement made by mankind). It is a "unicum" as regards the Homo Erectus' life and work style, dating back to a bit less than one million years ago. Similar unique features can be found in some of the most important monuments built at the dawn of History. It is the case of Pietrabbondante theatre-temple built by the Samnites 2,100 years ago at 1,000 mt above sea level. It is also famous as the highest Italian theatre. This "unicum", unearthed in its essential structures at the end of the '60s, attracts thousands of tourists every year. Saepinum is to be considered at the same level: it is a roman city built in the first century B.C. at the foot of the Matese mountains. Another peculiarity, a medieval one, is proposed by S. Vincenzo al Volturno, a Benedectine monastery built during the early Middle Ages, famous all over the world, showing decorations and architecture tracing the Carolingian "renovatio" (renovation) imperial patterns. The Molise castles are not caracterized by a royal sumptuousness we have been accostumed to by the dominant iconography although some specificty is detectable by just considering the decoration of Venafro castle interiors, with almost life-size horses painted on the walls. As regards churches, within only 100 Km it is possible to develop a religious itinerary, going from the Neo-Gothic Castelpetroso Sanctuary to the Romanesque Canneto one, and to the Romanesque-Gothic Larino and Termoli cathedrals.
At the two ends of this religious itinerary there are the more than ever reassuring Matese mountains - with Campitello di S. Massimo, a winter sport resort area - and Termoli harbour, with the fastest means of transportation to the Tremiti Islands, considered the paradise of underwater tourism. These archaeological, historical, naturalistic, scenic features are rounded off by traditions which survived with the passing of times and challenging the dictates of fashion. The mysteries of Campobasso: metal devices dating back to the XVIII century on which people interpreting religious subjects wind through the streets on the Corpus Domini day, attracting lots of tourists. Agnone "ndocciata", celebrating for centuries the Christmas Eve night, consists of hundreds of lighted torches which local people carry on their back along the streets. Another traditional event is the "Cariot Race", that in some villages of the lower Molise evokes the quarters horse-race with bullocks in place of horses.The Chariots Parade at Larino is another spectacular performance, as well as the Wheat Feast at Jelsi with the "traglie" (chariots decorated with ears of corn which wind through the streets of the village). Recently, the Molise has become popular also for its thermal baths: the first modern spa opened recently is already recording a good influx of people. Wandering again through the urban centres where tradition is felt strongly, it is possible to come across many types of unique craftsmanship:pillow laces, drawn steel, zampognas, wood-casting bells, cutleries. In gastronomy, many dishes are based on the traditional products of a land that is not rich, but original for its simplicity and genuineness. The Samnites emmer, in the Triventino, the Upper Molise dairy products, the polenta "onta", the stockfish with plums and tomato and Capracotta "pezzata" (stew) are all typical dishes which more and more frequently can be found in the restaurants menus. Even the hotel facilities have made significant progress in quality lately.
These are all the ingredients for an intelligent tourism.