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Mulise (Neapolitan)
Moliš (Slavomolisano)
Coat of arms of Molise
Coordinates: 41°41′59″N 14°36′40″E / 41.6997°N 14.6111°E / 41.6997; 14.6111
 • PresidentFrancesco Roberti (FI)
 • Total4,438 km2 (1,714 sq mi)
 • Total308,493
 • Density70/km2 (180/sq mi)
Demonym(s)English: Molisan
Italian: Molisano (man)
Italian: Molisana (woman)
 • Total€6.452 billion (2021)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
ISO 3166 codeIT-67
HDI (2021)0.874[2]
very high · 15th of 21

Molise (UK: /mɒˈlz/ mol-EE-zay,[3] US: /ˈmliz, mˈlz/ MOH-lee-zay, moh-LEE-zay,[4][5][6] Italian: [moˈliːze]; Molisan: Mulise, pronounced [mə'li.zə]) is a region of Southern Italy. Until 1963, it formed part of the region of Abruzzi e Molise together with Abruzzo. The split, which did not become effective until 1970, makes Molise the newest region in Italy. Covering 4,438 square kilometres (1,714 sq mi), it is the second smallest region in the country, after the Aosta Valley, and has a population of 313,348 (as of 1 January 2015).

The region is split into two provinces, named after their capitals: Campobasso and Isernia. Campobasso also serves as the regional capital.


Molise is bordered by Abruzzo to the north, Apulia to the east, Lazio to the west, and Campania to the south. It has 35 kilometres (22 miles) of sandy coastline to the northeast, lying on the Adriatic Sea looking out toward the Tremiti Islands. The countryside of Molise is mostly mountainous, with 55% covered by mountains and most of the rest by hills that go down to the sea.[7]

Main sights and monuments[edit]

Archeological sites of Molise


Castello Monforte
  • Castello Monforte
  • Terzano Tower
  • Campobasso Cathedral (Santissima Trinità)
  • Church of Sant'Antonio
  • Church of San Bartolomeo
  • Church of San Giorgio
  • Savoia Theater
  • San Giorgio Palace (Head of municipality)
  • Provincial Museum of "Sanniti"


Altilia (Sepino)



Province of Campobasso[edit]

Isernia collage

Province of Isernia[edit]


Castle of Termoli
Campobasso's Cathedral

Agriculture, involving small and micro holdings, is currently offering high-quality products. The agricultural holdings produce wine, cereals, olive oil, vegetables, fruits and dairy products. Traditional products are Grass Pea (cicerchia) and Farro. Molise's autochthonous grape is Tintilia which has been rediscovered during the last ten years, and many other PDO (DOP) wines, both red and white.

Though there is a large Fiat plant (Termoli), the industrial sector is dominated by the farming industry with small and medium-sized farms spread widely throughout the region. Another important industry is food processing: pasta, meat, milk products, oil and wine are the traditional products of the region. In the services sector the most important industries are distribution, hotels and catering, followed by transport and communications, banking and insurance. With few exceptions, in all sectors firms are small, and this explains the difficulties encountered when marketing products on a national scale.[8]

International tourism is growing largely as a result of the recent opening of international flights from other European countries to Pescara Airport, which is not far to the north in Abruzzo and connected to Molise by the A14 highway (the only highway passing through Molise, by Termoli).

The unemployment rate stood at 9.5% in 2020. [9]


Molise has many small and picturesque villages, four of them have been selected by I Borghi più belli d'Italia (English: The most beautiful Villages of Italy),[10] a non-profit private association of small Italian towns of strong historical and artistic interest,[11] that was founded on the initiative of the Tourism Council of the National Association of Italian Municipalities.[12]


Historical population
1861 355,000—    
1871 374,000+5.4%
1881 382,000+2.1%
1901 395,000+3.4%
1911 396,000+0.3%
1921 383,000−3.3%
1931 377,000−1.6%
1936 388,000+2.9%
1951 406,823+4.9%
1961 358,052−12.0%
1971 319,807−10.7%
1981 328,371+2.7%
1991 330,900+0.8%
2001 320,601−3.1%
Source: ISTAT

The density of the population in Molise is well below the national average. In 2008, Molise registered 72.3 inhabitants per km2, compared to a national figure of 198.8. The region is subdivided into two provinces: Campobasso and Isernia, which together cover 1.5% of Italy's territory and less than 1% of its population. The larger province in terms of area is Campobasso at 2,909 km2, while the smaller is Isernia at 1,529 km2. The province of Campobasso is the more densely populated of the two provinces, with 79.4 inhabitants per km2, whereas Isernia registers 58.9 inhabitants per km2.[13] At the end of 2008 the most populous towns were Campobasso (51,247 inhabitants), Termoli (32,420) and Isernia (21,811).

In the period 1951–71, large-scale emigration to other countries of the European Union, to other parts of Italy and overseas led to a significant decline in the population of Molise. Negative net migration persisted until 1981. Large-scale emigration has caused many of the smaller towns and villages to lose over 60% of their population, while only a small number of larger towns have recorded significant gains. From 1982 to 1994, net migration has been positive, then followed by a negative trend until 2001. Between 1991 (330,900 inhabitants) and 2001 (320,601 inhabitants), the population of the region decreased by 3.1%;[13] since 2001 the population remained stable.

The region is home to two main ethnic minorities: the Molisan Croats (20,000 people who speak an old Dalmatian dialect of Croatian alongside Italian), and those who speak the Arbëresh dialect of Albanian in five towns of "basso Molise" in the province of Campobasso.

Government and politics[edit]

Administrative divisions[edit]

Molise comprises two provinces:

Province Area (km2) Population Density (inhabitants/km2)
Province of Campobasso 2,909 231,921 79.7
Province of Isernia 1,529 88,931 58.2


Molise has much tradition from the religious to the pagan, many museums, archeological sites, musical and food events.


  • The Festival dei Misteri in Campobasso (Corpus Domini)
  • Feast of Saint Pardo with ox chariot (cart) in Larino (25-26-27/May)
  • Ox chariots (La Carrese) and feast of Saint Leo in San Martino in Pensilis (30 April and 2 May)
  • The Ndocciata of Agnone (8-24/December)
  • The Saint Basso feast in Termoli with procession of boats on the sea (4 August)
  • "U lut'm sab't d'April" of Santa Croce di Magliano with benediction of animals (Last Saturday of April)
  • Procession of Good Friday in Campobasso
  • The procession of hooded on the Good Friday at Isernia
  • The fire of Saint Anthony the Abbot in Colletorto (17 January)
  • The feast of Saint Nicandro in Venafro (17 June)
  • The ox chariots and feast in the village of Ururi and Portocannone
  • The feast of San Biagio in San Biase (3 February), with the traditional game of the Morra and the distribution of Bread to all the inhabitants

Arts, musical and food festivals



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.

In addition to bruschetta, a typical antipasto will consist of any of several meat dishes, such as the sausages capocollo, 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.

Main dishes of the region include:

Common second dishes (often meat and vegetable dishes) are:

  • Lamb, the most popular meat, served grilled, roasted, or stewed
  • Many organ meats of lamb, especially tripe, are popular
  • Coniglio alla molisana, grilled rabbit pieces skewered with sausage and herbs
  • Mazzarelle, tightly wrapped rolls made with lung and tripe of lamb
  • Ragù d' agnello, braised lamb with sweet peppers, a specialty of Isernia
  • Torcinelli, rolled strips of lamb tripe, sweetbreads, and liver
  • Pamparella or pork pancetta dried with peperoncino, soaked in wine and cut into small pieces. Pamparella is used to flavor sauces, in particular the sauce for dressing the tacconi, a rustic pasta made with flour and water.
  • Saucicc', Paparuol' e Ova Fritte, sausage with sweet pepper and fried eggs

Typical vegetable dishes may include:

  • Carciofi ripieni, artichokes stuffed with anchovies and capers
  • Peeled sweet peppers stuffed with breadcrumbs, anchovies, parsley, basil and peperoncino, sautéed in a frying pan and cooked with chopped tomatoes
  • Cipollacci con pecorino, fried strong onions and pecorino cheese
  • Frittata con basilico e cipolle, omelette with basil and onions

Fish dishes include red mullet soup, and spaghetti with cuttlefish. Trout from the Biferno river is notable for its flavor, and is cooked with a simple but tasty sauce of aromatic herbs. Zuppa di pesce, a fish stew, is a specialty of Termoli.

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

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[14]

International relations[edit]

Twin towns — sister cities[edit]

Molise is twinned with:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Population on 1 January by age, sex and NUTS 2 region", www.ec.europa.eu
  2. ^ "Sub-national HDI – Area Database – Global Data Lab". hdi.globaldatalab.org. Retrieved 2023-03-05.
  3. ^ "Molise". Lexico UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 2020-03-22.
  4. ^ "Molise". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). HarperCollins. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  5. ^ "Molise". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  6. ^ "Molise". Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  7. ^ "Molise" (in Italian). Retrieved 19 March 2023.
  8. ^ "Eurostat". Europa (web portal). Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
  9. ^ "Unemployment NUTS 2 regions Eurostat".
  10. ^ "Molise" (in Italian). 9 January 2017. Retrieved 1 August 2023.
  11. ^ "Borghi più belli d'Italia. Le 14 novità 2023, dal Trentino alla Calabria" (in Italian). 16 January 2023. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  12. ^ "I Borghi più belli d'Italia, la guida online ai piccoli centri dell'Italia nascosta" (in Italian). Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Eurostat". Europa (web portal). 2001-01-01. Archived from the original on 2007-08-05. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
  14. ^ "Abruzzo and Molise Heritage Society". Abruzzomoliseheritagesociety.org. Archived from the original on 2013-03-09. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
  15. ^ "Miasta partnerskie i zaprzyjaźnione Nowego Sącza". Urząd Miasta Nowego Sącza (in Polish). Archived from the original on 2013-05-23. Retrieved 2013-08-01.

External links[edit]