What to see in the Molise Region, Most Beautiful Villages and Towns

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Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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In a varied naturalistic territory, ranging from the sea to the mountains, Molise is an excellent destination that can be enjoyed at any time of the year because it offers many activities. Everyone can find an answer to their passions: lovers of winter sports, fans of trekking and hiking in nature and those who love to be lulled by the sweet relaxation made of sea and beach.

Given its particular territory, for years it has been the center of clashes and expansionist purposes of the villages, which have led to the birth of a series of fortified villages. Only four of them were included in the list of the most beautiful villages in Italy, but they are definitely worth a visit.

NB: The following list is the result of a survey that actively involved members of the Community. More than 10,000 users were asked to express 20 preferences, choosing from the editorial team's proposals.


  1. Castelpetroso, Isernia
  2. Kitchens, Isernia
  3. Larino, Campobasso
  4. Bagnoli del Trigno, Isernia
  5. Vastogirardi, Isernia
  6. Sepino, Campobasso
  7. Agnone, Isernia
  8. Rocchetta a Volturno, Isernia
  9. Venafro, Isernia
  10. Oratino, Campobasso
  11. Frosolona, Isernia
  12. Termoli, Campobasso
  13. Campitello Matese, Campobasso
  14. Capracotta, Isernia
  15. Altilia, Campobasso
  16. Castel San Vincenzo, Isernia
  17. Pietrabbondante, Isernia
  18. Guardiaregia, Campobasso
  19. Campochiaro, Campobasso
  20. Campomarino, Campobasso
  21. Questions and comments from users

1 - Castelpetroso, Isernia

A small medieval village of Norman origin formed by alleys and stone houses and small squares.
In the center of the town is the large parish church of San Martino with the portal of the fourteenth century.

Of the ancient castle, however, nothing remains, except for some parts of sheer masonry surrounding the medieval villa and two large rooms on the first floor that house, respectively, the town museum and the Artistic Crib Molise. This particular work of art shows characters dedicated to ancient craftsmanship, dressed in costumes of the eighteenth century of some municipalities of Molise. Their importance is such that they are among the reproductions of the most important monuments of the region.

  • Ideal time for a visit: the first Sunday of August, for the feast of San Nicola di Bari, the last Sunday of August for the feast of Maria SS. Triste
  • Recommended visiting hours: 1 day
  • What to see in and around the town: the Basilica Santuario dell'Addolorata; the chapel of the Maddalena; the parish church of San Martino; Church of the Madonna Della Libera; the medieval village. Isernia is 19 minutes away
  • Indicazioni Ottieni
  • Hotel and b & b from 40,00 € per room -

2 - Fornelli, Isernia

Known as "The country of the seven towers", it is surrounded by a medieval wall among the best preserved of Molise.
The village also has an urban layout in the style of the original: details that have earned it the inclusion in the list of the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy.
Today, in the urban agglomeration, three interconnected urban profiles can be recognized. The first two are the oldest and include Mother Church, the Palace and the seven towers; while the third, which coincides with the modern part, extends down to the valley.
Also characteristic is the panorama, dotted with olive trees, thanks to which is produced one of the most famous oils of the region.

  • Ideal time for a visit: April 29 for the patronal feast of San Pietro Martire, January 22 for the feast of the co-patron saint San Domenico Abate.
  • Recommended visiting hours: 1 day
  • What to see in and around the town: Church of San Pietro Martire; the village chapels of Madonna delle Grazie; the baronial palace; the seven towers; the main gate to the historic center; Porta Castello and Porta Nova; fountain. Madonna delle Grazie is 6 minutes away.
  • Ottieni indications
  • Hotel and b & b from 47,00 € per room -

3 - Larino, Campobasso

One of the most important resort in Molise.
The foundation of Larino probably dates back to the 12th century B.C. by the Osci, and then it became an important Roman municipium, as evidenced by archaeological finds such as the amphitheater, the baths, the forum and the villas with splendid mosaic floors.

In the center of the village are worth seeing Romanesque Cathedral dedicated to St. Pardo and the Assumption, with its characteristic 13-spoke rose window, the Palazzo Ducale, now home to the Civic Museum, the Municipal Library and the Historical Archives, the Convent of the Capuchin friars and some noble palaces and villas of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The surrounding area is characterized by olive groves, the predominant cultivation of the territory from which an excellent quality oil (from the native olive tree Gentile di Larino).

  • Ideal time for a visit: May 25-26-27 for the most important festival of the year: the carrese of San Pardo. In October for the October Fair, and during the weekend before Shrove Tuesday, when the parade of the "papier-mâché giants" takes place.
  • Recommended visiting hours: 1 day
  • What to see in and around the city: Ducal Palace; Cathedral; medieval village; Roman amphitheater; archaeological park of Villa Zappone, Cathedral of San Pardo. The town of Larino is 25 minutes away.
  • Indicazioni Ottieni
  • Hotel and b & b from 50,00 € per room -

4 - Bagnoli del Trigno, Isernia

The origins of the village are unknown; they go back to several legends that have several protagonists: a tribe seeking refuge from the barbarian invasions, a duke drinking from the waters of the Trigno and the simple construction of urban agglomerations around thermal spring.

Gathered around a cliff and crossed by the river Trigno and the torrent Vella, the first certain information dates back to the Middle Ages, when the fief became part of the Contado del Molise. Later it passed from the hands of the Spanish and French lords to the Kingdom of Naples and finally to the Kingdom of Italy.

  • Ideal time for a visit: during the Christmas period, when the parade "ndocce" through the streets, at Carnival for the parade of floats, on August 19 for "la firia", on August 20 when the patronal feast of San Vitale is celebrated, on August 18 for the medieval costume festival in honor of Santa Caterina.
  • Recommended visiting hours: Days 1-2
  • What to see in and around the town: church of San Michele; parish church of Santa Maria Assunta; church of Our Lady of Fatima; Sanfelice Castle; Piazza Olmo; the Safelice staircase. Civitanova del Sannio is only 17 minutes away.
  • Indicazioni Ottieni
  • Hotel and b & b from € 48,00 per room -

5 - Vastogirardi, Isernia

It rises within the Natural Reserve of Montedimezzo, Unesco MAB Reserve, among woods, high peaks and springs. The village is part of the mountain community of Alto Molise.
It is a mountain village that still preserves evident traces of its past. It rises at an altitude of 1,200 meters near the Trigno River, on the border with Abruzzo.
The village includes two hamlets, Villa San Michele e Cerreto: the first rebuilt in 1933 after a landslide, the second was in the past the train station of the town.
In the historic center, old houses and historic buildings; dominates the mother church dedicated to San Nicola di Bari, patron saint of the town.

  • Ideal time for a visit: January 17 for the bonfire of Sant'Antonio abatir, 1-2-3 July Festivities of the patron saints Maria SS. delle Grazie and San Nicola di Bari and the sacred representation of the "Flight of the Angel". In August for the festival Cazzariegl and fasciuol.
  • Recommended visiting hours: 1 day
  • What to see in and around the town: fortified castle of Angevin; Samnite sanctuary and temple; parish church of San Nicola di Bari. Agnone is 25 minutes away.
  • Indicazioni Ottieni
  • Hotel and b & b from 50,00 € per room -

6 - Sepino, Campobasso

Fundamental stage for those who visit Molise.
The town develops on the slopes of the Matese and the surrounding landscape is marked by the Pescasseroli-Candela sheep track, along which lies the ancient Roman municipium of Saepinum.
In this archaeological area you can see the most typical places of a Roman city: the theater, the forum, the basilica, the thermal baths, the walls with the access gates.

  • Ideal time for a visit: January 8-9-10 for the traditional feast in honor of the patron saint Santa Cristina, July 23 and 24, when the death of Santa Cristina is remembered, July 25 for the "Festa dell'Emigrante", New Year's Eve for the "Bufù" game.
  • Recommended visiting hours: 1 day
  • What to see in and around the town: archaeological excavations of Saepinum and Saipins; church of Santa Cristina; church of San Lorenzo; the southern gate; the eastern gate; the Porta di Corte or Porta Borrelli. The town of Sassinoro is 10 minutes away.
  • Indicazioni Ottieni
  • Hotel and b & b from 50,00 € per room -

7 - Agnone, Isernia

It is home to the oldest bell-making plant in the world: one of the few that can boast the honor of using the papal coat of arms.
Historical city of the popes, tradition has it that Agnone was built on the ruins of the Samnite city of Aquilonia destroyed by the Romans: as proof of this, several archaeological finds have been recovered in the area.
In recent decades, Agnone has witnessed a development of tourist culture, with the spread of equestrian sports, the creation of numerous agricultural centers and the exponential growth of events.

  • Ideal time for a visit: December 24 on the occasion of the "Ndocciata".
  • Recommended time for a visit: 2-3 days
  • What to see in and around the town: bell museum, copper museum, Belvedere del cardo far and church of San Marco Evangelista; parish church of San Francesco and convent; Palazzo dei Conti Minutolo; town palace. The town of Capracotta is 26 minutes away.
  • Indicazioni Ottieni
  • Hotel and b & b from 50,00 € per room -

8 - Rocchetta a Volturno, Isernia

Located in the Molise Apennines in the Isernino, the village is inserted in an area of great environmental value; in fact, the area was included in the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise.
The historic center, also known as Rocchetta Alta, was largely abandoned due to a series of landslides that threatened it since the late 19th century. In 1905, the original medieval settlement, perched in a defensive position on the mountain, was partially destroyed.

Following other disastrous events, the population moved mostly downstream, giving rise to the present village that develops in the center of a plateau, bordered on the west by the terminal part of the chain of Mainarde and east by a depression at the bottom of which flows the river Volturno.

  • Ideal time for a visit: the last Sunday of Carnival for the Carnival of Castelnuovo a Volturno.
  • Recommended time of visit: 1 day
  • What to see in and around the town: Parish Church of Santa Maria Assunta; Monument to the Fallen of World War II; Monument to Giaime Painter; International Museum of World Wars; Rock Sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Grotte. Cerro al Volturno is 11 minutes away.
  • Indicazioni Ottieni
  • Hotel and b & b from 145,00 € per room -

9 - Venafro, Isernia

It has very ancient origins that date back to the Italic people of the Samnites.
In 89 BC, Venafrum was the scene of a decisive battle against Rome, which was invaded by the Lombards during the Middle Ages. In the 6th century it was elected seat of a diocese, as well as an important transit center from Molise and Abruzzo to Naples.
The historic center has the appearance of a fortified village perched along the mountainside, away from the ancient Roman center, identified with the area of the amphitheater. The highest point of the town is the Pandone Castle, while the cathedral, respecting the layout of the ancient Norman-Lombard cities, is located outside the walls.
The urban layout is affected by the Roman division into cardo and decumanus, and the influence of Neapolitan baroque.

  • Ideal time for a visit: feast of the martyr saints Nicandro, Marciano and Daria from June 16 to 17 and 18.
  • Recommended visiting hours: Days 1-2
  • What to see in and around the town: Naturalistic oasis of Le Mortine; the French military cemetery; Regional Agricultural Historical Park of the Olive Tree of Venafro; the Roman theater; Siravo Palace; Martino Palace; Colicchio Palace. To reach Pozzilli it takes 7 minutes.
  • Indicazioni Ottieni
  • Hotel and b & b from 50,00 Euro per room -

10 - Oratino, Campobasso

From the top of its almost 800 meters above sea level, it dominates, for a long stretch, the middle valley of the river Biferno.
From the hill where the inhabited center is located, a spectacular panorama opens up, from which it is possible to see at a glance numerous villages of Alto Molise and southern Abruzzo.

The ancient name of the village was Loretinum, in the º Ratino, then Loratino and finally Oratino. We do not know where the name comes from. As stated by the parish priest of the village in the early twentieth century, the Greek root Or would derive from the Latin Oratenus, meaning "visible everywhere", therefore "panoramic place".
The feudal succession of Oratino has been quite complex throughout the various epochs and was characterized by the constant presence of several noble families, until the Spanish domination of the Di Silva.

  • Ideal time for a visit: January 17th for Le Lessate, May 14th for San Bonifacio and December 24th for La Faglia.
  • Recommended visiting hours: 1 day
  • What to see in and around the town: The fortress; Palazzo Giordano; Church of Santa Maria Assunta; Church of Santa Maria di Loreto. The town of Campobasso is 15 minutes away.
  • Indicazioni Ottieni
  • Hotel and b & b from 25,00 € per room -

11 - Frosolona, Isernia

Charming village that still preserves the ancient medieval urban charm.
The landscape is truly fascinating. Surrounded by steep cliffs, hills, woods, pastures and lakes, the village is characterized by a morphology of carbonate rocks with strange and surprising shapes.

Historically, the country has based its economy on breeding, especially sheep, and on craftsmanship of scissors and knives. The tourism sector is gradually consolidating, particularly in the form of widespread accommodation, favored by an almost uncontaminated nature and by an agri-food sector still largely artisanal. It has an excellent agri-food production, in particular cow and sheep cheeses; in continuous expansion is the sector linked to truffle quarrying.

  • Recommendedtime for a visit: 1 September Sant'Egidio
  • Recommended visiting hours: 1 day
  • What to see in and around the town: museum of cutting tools, historic center, Church of San Pietro Apostolo, Palazzo Baronale Zampini, Parish of Santa Maria Assunta, fountain of the Immaculate Conception. Isernia can be reached in just over 30 minutes.
  • Ottieni indications
  • Hotel and b & b from 49,00 € per room -

12 - Termoli, Campobasso

The small ancient town, among the most beautiful in Italy, rises on a rocky promontory overlooking the sea, with the cathedral in the center, a national monument among the most beautiful examples of Romanesque Molise, which preserves the relics of the patron saint San Basso.

On one side of the village, surrounded by ancient walls, stands the charming Swabian Castle, probably of Norman origin, but whose defensive structure was reinforced by Frederick II.
Since 2003 the town has been awarded the"Blue Flag" as an important tourist town, especially appreciated for the quality of the sea water and the safety of its beaches.

  • Ideal time for a visit: in summer, especially from 3 to 4 August for the feast of San Basso, a suggestive procession on the sea with the statue of the patron saint carried on a fishing boat raffled among the owners of Termoli
  • Recommended visiting hours: 1 day
  • What to see in and around the city: cathedral, Swabian castle, Trabucchi. The tremiti islands are very close
  • Indicazioni Ottieni
  • Hotel and b & b from 52,00 € per room -

13 - Campitello Matese, Campobasso

It is one of the most important resorts in Molise.
Located in the heart of the Molise Apennines, in particular on the slopes of Monte Miletto (2050 m asl), it is known as one of the snowiest ski resorts in central-southern Italy.
Surrounded by unspoiled landscapes, in winter its extensive network of slopes is ideal for lovers of skiing and snow sports activities, while its silent forests and extensive beech forests are ideal for lovers of snowshoeing in the silence of nature.
One leaves the town by chairlift that goes up to Mount Miletto from where one can enjoy a splendid view of the surroundings.
Campitello is equally popular in summer, as it is an excellent starting point for naturalistic excursions in the Matese.

  • Ideal time for a visit: winter for skiing and summer for nature excursions.
  • Recommended time to visit: long weekend or full week.
  • What to see in and around the town: Matese Lake, Rocca Mandolfi Castle, Matese Regional Park, San Michele Cave.
  • Indicazioni Ottieni
  • Hotel and b & b from 112,00 € per room -

14 - Capracotta, Isernia

Among the highest peaks of the Apennines, Capracotta is an importantski resort that is part of the mountainous Community of Alto Molise.
It is equipped with two very important systems, one dedicated to alpine skiing and the other to cross-country skiing.
In the village, from the religious point of view, are important the Parish Church of the Assumption of 1673 and the Santa Maria di Loreto, built by the shepherds of Capri to entrust their families to the protection of the Virgin during the transhumance.
Just outside the village we find Baronial Palace and Garden of the flora of the Apennines, a botanical garden where you can take pleasant walks and admire numerous species of flowers and local plants. The recent is interesting Museum of Peasant Civilization and Ancient Crafts where you can admire objects and tools of the past intended to protect the historical memory of the place.
A legend explains the meaning of the name. It is said that some gypsies had decided to burn a goat as a foundation rite where they had decided to build their town; the goat fled to the mountains and died, so the gypsies decided to found the town there.

  • Ideal time for a visit: in winter for skiing. The second Sunday in July is the feast of San Sebastiano Martire, patron saint of the Borgo; on September 8 every three years the Madonna di Loreto is celebrated, and on the first Sunday in August the Sagra della Pezzata (grilled lamb and sheep).
  • Recommended visiting hours: Days 2-3
  • What to see in and around the town: Parish Church of the Assumption, Church of Santa Maria di Loreto, Garden of the Flora of the Apennines, Museum of Rural Life and Ancient Handicrafts. Agnone is 17 km away, Roccaraso is 29 km away and Castel di Sangro is 28 km away.
  • Indicazioni Ottieni
  • Hotel and b & b from € 60,00 per room -

15 - Altilia, Campobasso

Small village whose heart beats Piazza Castello to testify to the fact that an ancient mansion was built here before. At the center of the square there is a fountain that marks the cardinal points.
However, the real reason of interest for which you go to Altilia is to visit the ancientSepino (Saepinum), a wonderful archaeological site accessed through 4 gigantic entrance gates, some still perfectly intact.
Once inside, the grandeur of the forum, the nerve center and seat of all administrative activities. A little further on, the remains of a basilica, the market, the spa and other buildings.
The most interesting and best preserved place in town is the theater, built entirely in limestone and divided into two sections, one for the public and one for shows.

  • Ideal time for a visit: spring and summer for pleasant temperatures. Santa Cristina, the patron saint, is celebrated on July 24 and 25.
  • Recommended visiting hours: 1 day
  • What to see in and around the town: village, Piazza Castello and archaeological site. Campobasso is 29 km away.
  • Indicazioni Ottieni
  • Hotel and b & b from 50,00 € per room -

16 - Castel San Vincenzo, Isernia

Very small medieval nucleus, less than 600 inhabitants, at the foot of the Mainarde, in National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise.
Right here stood the ancientBenedictine Monasteryof San Vincenzo al Volturno, one of the most important of the Middle Ages with famous frescoes in the Crypt of Epiphanius, among the best known examples of early medieval European painting.

The territory preserves old vineyards and olive groves, testimony of the ancient peasant past. The lake near the village is an artificial reservoir built at the end of the decade for hydroelectric purposes. Although artificial, the lake is well harmonized with the surrounding landscape of mountains and forests. Fishing and other water sports can be practiced near the lake. There is an area equipped for camping and a horse stable.

  • Ideal time for a visit: summer
  • Recommended visiting hours: Days 2-3
  • What to see in and around the town: village, Church of Santo Stefano, Benedictine Abbey of San Vincenzo al Volturno, Church of San Martino, Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie. Near the hermitage of S. Michele a Foce. In the surroundings, hamlet of La Cartiera.
  • Indicazioni Ottieni
  • Hotel and b & b from 50,00 € per room -

17 - Pietrabbondante, Isernia

It is immersed in an uncontaminated nature between hills and flat extensions of Molise.
Nestled among the local rocks called morge and crowned by Monte Caraceno, the town owes its name to the considerable presence of rocks scattered throughout the territory.
Among the streets of the historic center you can admire the various types of housing of medieval origin still perfectly preserved. They are buildings constructed with materials from the nearby archaeological site.
In the historic center is the Church of the Assumption from the beautiful baroque portal. Built in 1666, the back wall houses fragments of tombstones.
The area lends itself to pleasant excursions on guided trails such as, for example, the ascent of Monte Caraceno; the presence of large rock walls is ideal for mountaineering a few steps from the historic center.

  • Ideal time for a visit: summer for outdoor and nature activities. Also in summer the Sannita Teatro Festival is held, a theatrical and musical review that takes place in the splendid scenery of the archaeological area of Calcatello.
  • Recommended visiting hours: 1 day
  • What to see in and around the town: village and Church of the Assumption. In nearby Calcatello the ancient theater
  • Indicazioni Ottieni
  • Hotel and b & b from 35,00 € per room -

18 - Guardiaregia, Campobasso

It is a medieval village that stands out for an enchanting nature and a variety of flavors and aromas.
The most important tourist attraction is undoubtedly the nature in which it is immersed, an area located entirely in thenatural oasis of Guardiaregia-Campochiaro.

The area is ideal for long walks to discover karst phenomena, such as the canyon of the Quirino stream, the waterfall of San Nicola, the caves of Pozzo della Neve and Cul di Bove (among the deepest abysses in Europe).
It is a beautiful medieval village where the host is elbienvenidahospitality of its inhabitants and local products. A predominant role is played by the craftsmanship still alive and as present as the ancient. clay processing: the pans and bowls of the "pignatari" of Guardiaregia are famous throughout Molise.

  • Ideal time for a visit: the summer for beautiful walks and excursions in nature. The patronal feast dedicated to San Nicola takes place on May 9; on December 5 and 6 there is the Bean Festival.
  • Recommended time of visit: 4-5 days to have the opportunity to make more excursions.
  • What to see in and around the town: town, San Nicola church, WWF natural oasis (Quirino stream canyon, San Nicola waterfall, Pozzo della Neve caves, Cul di Bove). In the surroundings, the Rumita Caves, Campitello di Guardiaregia at about 1500 meters above sea level and Monte Mutria, the highest peak (1823 m) of Benevento Matese.
  • Indicazioni Ottieni
  • Hotel and b & b from 50,00 € per room -

19 - Campochiaro, Campobasso

It is a small village from which you can admire a splendid panorama to the northeast. The inhabited area, whose foundation dates back to the 7th century A.D., is dominated by an Angevin Tower, with a circular Lombard plan and a porthole window. Originally the highest tower of a medieval fortress with ramparts, today, restored, it can be visited.

To see in the center of town, the baroque Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie containing a wooden altar ranked among the most beautiful in Molise and the urban fountain, rebuilt after the earthquake of 1805, is a red stone portico with six columns.
Like nearby Guardiaregia, the territory of Campochiaro is also fully protected by the WWF Oasis "Guardiaregia-Campochiaro", an ideal destination for lovers of hiking to discover spectacular natural phenomena.

  • Ideal time for a visit: summer for walks and activities in nature.
  • Recommended time of visit: 4-5 days for further excursions.
  • What to see in and around the city: Angevin Tower, Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, the urban fountain. In the surrounding area the remains of an Italic sanctuary dedicated to Hercules in Civitelle; the necropolis of the Lombard period in the Vicenne district and the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
  • Indicazioni Ottieni
  • Hotel and b & b from 40,00 € per room -

20 - Campomarino, Campobasso

Lying on the Adriatic coast, it is one of the four municipalities of Molise of Arbëreshë tradition, partially preserved in culture and language.
It is known as a tourist resort. The extensive beach of fine sand frames a crystalline sea. Numerous accommodation facilities, services and places of amusement even for the little ones.
In addition to its tourist vocation, it is also worth noting the importance of Campomarino in the agricultural sector with a strong presence of wineries. No wonder that the country is a member of national associations"City of wine" and"City of oil".

  • Ideal time for a visit: summer for a seaside vacation.
  • Recommended time of visit: a couple of days but more if the idea is to spend the vacations by the sea.
  • What to see in and around the town: beaches and the Church of Santa Maria a Mare. Nearby: in the village of Nuova Cliternia the Sanctuary of the Madonna Grande, in Cliternia Frentana the Roman ruins and the tree-lined road leading from the town center to the village of Nuova Cliternia.
  • Indicazioni Ottieni
  • Hotel and b & b from 55,00 € per room -

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