Molise is a small region in the southern Italy. But one of the smallest region is also a worth visit in Mezzogiorno.
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Molise in 20 seconds
Molise is not a large region. In fact it is the second smallest region in all of Italy. There aren’t that many people either, which the population of just more than 300,000 people are clear evidence of.
But this region offers amazing beaches near Termoli, the exciting big city of Campobasso, and small and pleasant, yet fairly unknown villages.
Holiday in Molise
Cambobasso is the capital of Molise and showcases the difference between new and old in the region.
The city is dominated by Castello Monforte, from where the old city’s steep alleys lead you down to the newer sections of town, way down to the old trainyard.
In the modern part of the city you will find all the important institutions, as well as a high-security prison and a school for carabinieri, which are the Italian police force.
Tempoli is a very popular spot for tourists, and is located next to the coast towards the Adriatic Sea. The city is one of the places offering a ferry route to Isole Trémiti, a small archipelago which is known for their secret caves.
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We find this enormous church in the province of Isernia, in the region of Molise. It is located close to the borders of Campania and Lazio.
If you are vacationing in Rome and heading south, you can join the A1 highway and choose the exit at San Vittore, from where the remaining drive takes roughly 45 minutes.
If you are enjoying your holiday in Naples you can join the highway towards Caserta, and choose the exit at Caianello, where you then follow the SS85 motorway.
We are at the small village of Castelpetroso, where this enormous sanctuary is nestled in between the mountains, and where construction began back in 1888.
However it was not until 1890 that the first stones were laid, and the church was not completed until 1975. The inauguration took place on 21 September 1975.
The structure is dominated by the large dome, which is 52 meters high and is symbolized as a heart, surrounded by 7 chapels.
Pilgrimages have become increasingly popular over the years, and with the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1995, the Church became even more famous.
The Santuario di Maria Santissima Addolorata di Castelpetroso is certainly a place that simply MUST be visited, either when in Molise or nearby. The church is open every day from 07:00 to 19:30. There are several options for accommodation and dining nearby.
Campobasso might very well be the most underrated regional capital in all of Italy. This may well be due to its location in Molise, one of the smallest regions in Italy, but also perhaps because it is the region that is the least visited by tourists.
That said, Campobasso is certainly worth a visit. And in fact you only need to visit for a few days. So whether you’re heading south or north, this city deserves a visit on the way.
The city is situated more than 700 meters above sea level, and offers an excellent view out over the surrounding area. The main attraction of the city, Castello Monforte, even offers a panoramic view that you won’t find anywhere else in Molise. Monforte is a castle from the 16th century, which was built on top of medieval structures. To get this view you will need to visit the castle square.
The modern city center offers plenty of life, and as we toured the place during the Covid-19 pandemic, it was both a pleasure, as well as hugely liberating, to see so much life in the streets. To be fair we did visit during the month of June, so the weather was of course great. This meant that the people really enjoyed the atmosphere and social life, which for a long time had been impossible in Italy due to the coronavirus.
I can’t say that I saw a whole lot of attractions while I was there, but I did enjoy the Italian atmosphere of the city since there weren’t many tourists around. Well, maybe there was, but I only remember overhearing Italian phrases in the restaurants and on the street corners. You can find a similar atmosphere in many places, but you might find it best in the square by Palazzo San Giorgio.