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Molise at glance

 

Molise

 
The coat of arms is represented by a red shield, edged with silver and a diagonal band of the same color, top left a silver star with a peak similar to that of the reproduction of Arms of the Province of  Molise  contained in a cover adapted from "the Kingdom of Naples" divided into twelve provinces. The basic inspiration for the choice of the emblem is linked to Early Middle Ages which identifies the territory of Molise as a Norman County .
 

The Molise region is only a few hundreds km away from Rome. Until 1963 it was part of the region of Abruzzi. The split became effective in 1970 making Molise Italy's youngest region. 
It has a short coastline facing  the Adriatic Sea. Historically much of Molise is identified with the ancient Sannio. In fact almost all of its territory was inhabited by tribes Sannitiche,  groups of those "Italici" people from Indo European origins who spoke a language that phonetically recalled an archaic Latin with endings of harsh and guttural alliteration.

 


 
 
 The provinces
Capital Campobasso -  Major cities Isernia - Termoli - Venafro 


 

To learn about Molise's history,  we surely must search in the distant past. In 1979, in fact, there was a major paleontological discovery in the city of Isernia, a prehistoric site with evidence of human activity dating back some 730,000 years ago. Other finds at Campochiaro brought to light  more evidence of Molise rich history. It is assumed that the temple was dedicated to Hercules. Found was a antefix depicting the fight of the mythical figure with the lion Nemeo.
 

 
Other archaeological sites are : Isernia, Larino, Monte Vairano, Pietrabbondante, S.Giovanni in Galdo, S.Maria di Canneto, S.Vincenzo al Volturno, Sepino, Vastogirardi, Venafro. Pietrabbondante is located near the city of  Isernia. Here on the slopes of Monte Saraceno, the Samnites people built a complex of worship consisting of a theater, a temple and two arcaded buildings on both sides. Each of the seats was created from a single stone block with the dorsal elegantly thrown backwards; signs at both ends of each row reserved them for judges, priests, and so on. 
 
 
The region is characterized by a an equally split between mountainous and hilly areas highlighted by the presence of important peaks like  Monte Meta, the meeting point of Molise, Abruzzo and Lazio, the Matese Mountains, along the border of Campania and the mountains Freantani gently slopping toward the hills and lakes.
 

 
But , Molise  is not just mountains and hills,  the region also has a beautiful coastline, wedged between the beaches of Abruzzo and the Gargano promontory, extending for about 35 km. 
 
 
The coast  of Molise is characterized by its clear water and a coastal landscape that, from Montenero di Bisaccia  to Petaccio and from Termoli to Campomarino, offers visitors the typically Mediterranean landscape made of pine, wild rosemary, myrtle and juniper.
 

The Adriatic coast is low and sandy, especially in areas of the promontory of  Termoli, which repairs and protects the only artificial port present in Molise, where cruises depart for the Tremiti Islands and Croatia.​ 
 

 
This beautiful church is built on the same location where Our Lady appeared on March 22, 1888 as Our Lady of Sor­rows. Castelpetroso is near Isernia, about 120 miles south of Rome. Many immigrants from Castelpetroso settled in Nutley, New Jersey. 


 
The Cathedral is dedicated to the Apostle Peter and is situated in Piazza Andrea in the old town of Isernia, and stands on the site of an Italic pagan temple of the 3rd century B.C. Construction of the present building began in 1349. 
Its present appearance is the result of many renovations, occasioned partly by numerous earthquakes and partly by building refurbishments.

  
Cerro al Volturno is a small mountain town of medieval origin located in the province of Isernia. The town's main feature   is the imposing Castle Pandone overlooking the whole town and the entire Volturno Valley.


Civita Campomarano is located in the province of Campobasso where nature, history and culture blend together to create an idyllic setting for tourists and locals alike. It is here that every first week of August, local sommeliers and cheese testers come together in the castle to celebrate the wines and cheeses of the area.
 

A region where old traditions are honored and proposed year after year.
 
Cultural Tourism - Must be said that in Molise we find places drawing to their peculiarities. Among these Agnone, famous for its manufacturing of  church's bell dating back to the Middle Ages, Scapoli, known for its production of bagpipes, San Pietro Avellana, where is located the Museum of Popular Traditions and Costume d 'Epoca. 
The Transumanza  is the traditional springtime herding of cows and sheep from lowlands to higher mountain pastures or  viceversa. The "tratturi" are ancient seasonal migration trails used by people and livestock to reach the green pastures of Puglia and Abruzzo. For the tourist this historical trails are a chance to dip into local history and culture.

 
 
"La Carrese" is a race between two or more wagons pulled by teams of oxen that is held every year on April 30 in San Martino in Pensilis (Campobasso), in conjunction with the celebrations for the town's patron saint, St. Leo (May 2). Other "Carresi" are held in Chieuti, Portocannone and Ururi.   

 
Although this arcaic instrument is mostly associated with Christmas, there has been a steady ungoing resurgence within the folk music ensembles of southern italy. The town of Scapoli  holds the International Festival of the Zampogna where players from all over the world meet once a year during the last weekend of July. 
 

 
One of Molise's  main yearly event takes place in the town of Agnone and  is known as the " Ndocciata", literally a river of fire unfolding on the town's main street. It is an event that surprises and excites visitors every year with swirls of flames and sparks from which to interpret the future.​ The event takes place the first week of December and then again on the 24th.

 
The Procession of the Mysteries is a ritual held in celebration of the Corpus Domini in the city of Campobasso, during the first week of June. The event attracts thousand of people from within Italy and also from abroad. The origins of the Mysteries can be traced back to medieval time when the Church resorted to the use of theatrical objects to attract and arouse the masses.  The Mysteries, 13 in all, are none other than  portable "sophisticated engineered machines" depicting scenes from the Old and New Testament with clear references to concepts such as: "Obedience to God (Mysteries of Abramo), the punishment of the rebels (Mystery of St. Michael), the grace of God which accompanies the Virgin Mary (Mystery Immaculate Conception)".


 
Gastronomy
 
The cuisine of Molise is similar to the cuisine of Abruzzo, though there are some differences in the dishes and ingredients. The flavors of Molise are dominated by the many aromatic herbs that grow there. Some of the characteristic foods include spicy salami, a variety of locally produced cheeses, dishes using lamb or goat, pasta dishes with hearty sauces, and vegetables that grow in the region. 
Lamb, the most popular meat, served grilled, roasted, or stewed.
Grilled rabbit pieces skewered with sausage and herbs. Mazzarelle, tightly wrapped rolls made with lung and tripe of lamb. Torcinelli, rolled strips of lamb tripe, sweetbreads, and liver.


 
In addition to bruschetta, a typical antipasto will consist of any of several meat dishes, such as the sausages Capocolli, the fennel-seasoned Salsiccie al finocchio, soppressata, ventricina, frascateglie or sanguinaccio. In addition to these sausages, a variety of ham is available, such as smoked prosciutto. Frequently, the sausages are enjoyed with polenta.
 

 
The cheeses produced in Molise are not very different from those produced in Abruzzo. The more common ones are Burrino and Manteca, soft, delicious, buttery cow's-milk cheeses, Pecorino, sheep's-milk cheese, served young and soft or aged and hard, Scamorza, bland cow's-milk cheese, often served grilled, and Caciocavallo, sheep's-milk cheese.
 

 
Truffles are also very much part of  Molise gastronomy with their unique rich flavour and taste.The gathering begins in September and last until December. Prices can reach up $ 2000 per kilo. This region alone produces almost 40% of the national production. Truffle products are delicious used with pasta, risotto, polenta, bruschetta, wild asparagus, savoury tarts and with a a wide range of other dishes. They are also excellent used as a 'ripieni' (stuffing).


Production in the relatively new Molise wine sector is concentrated in the hilly area near the coast, especially at Campomarino. The modern wines are slowly being recognized and appreciated for their quality and, above all, by the excellent relationship between quality and price.
 
 
Sweets and desserts have an ancient tradition here and are linked to the history of the territory and to religious and family festivities. Most common are: Calciumi (also called Caucioni or cauciuni), sweet ravioli filled with chestnuts, almonds, chocolate, vanilla, cooked wine musts, and cinnamon and then fried.
​Ciambelline, ring-shaped cakes made in the countryside.They may be all'olio (with olive oil) or al vino rosso (with red wine).
Ferratelle all'anice, anise cakes made in metal molds and stamped with special patterns.
Ricotta pizza, a cake pan filled with a blend of ricotta cheese, sugar, flour, butter, maraschino liqueur, and chocolate chips.

 


The music.




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Abruzzo
Molise
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Province of Campobasso
Agnone
San Martino Pensilis
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The coast
The mountain
The Transumanza
​History of the bagpipe

 
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