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Discover Molise to the Sound of Bells

Agritourism in Molise, the unspoilt heart of Italy

Discover Molise to the Sound of Bells

Proud to be hidden away from mass tourism, Molise has good reason to be described as the unspoilt heart of Italy, an uncontaminated region where hospitality, traditions and good food are the main arrows in the quiver of its attractions.
With a landscape of sea coast and mountains, countryside and villages, Molise transforms its contrasts into a varied menu for its visitors.

This diversity is also reflected in Molise's provincial capital, Campobasso, which has a medieval part – dominated by Castello Monforte and characterised by narrow, winding streets and stone buildings with ancient doorways bearing the coats of arms of noble families – and a 19th-century part, built along garden city lines and therefore full of green spaces and airy squares. The delicious provincial cuisine includes handmade durum wheat egg pasta served with robust Molise ragout sauce and the famous local pecorino cheese, a sheep's cheese linked to the tradition of the transhumance and still today one of the area's products of excellence.

Not far from Campobasso lies the small town of Cercemaggiore. With its four thousand inhabitants, clean air and wholesome food it is one of a number of rare and flawless gems that adorn the varied landscape of the region. Pay a visit to the Shrine of S. Maria della Libera, which popular tradition claims is the spot where in 1412 a farmer discovered the miraculous statue of Our Lady, dating from the 12th or 13th century.

Molise's other provincial capital is Isernia, which in the past was a crossroads for various cultures, symbolised perfectly today by the Fontana Fraterna (Brotherly Fountain), constructed from materials dating from different historical periods. The formal and elegant design of Palazzo D'Avalos, built in 1694 by Prince Diego D'Avalos, today forms a sophisticated backdrop to the town's central cafés.

With its expanses of green hills and countryside, olive trees, vineyards and historical urban centres, Molise is also a land of unique traditions, such as the 'ndocciata' in Agnone. Every year on December 24 the town traditionally holds a parade of thousands of huge, handmade pine torches. The ceremony has ancestral significance, relating to the ancient rituals of the rebirth of light. Agnone is also world famous for its historic manufacturer of bells, used for festive and religious purposes. Many fine examples are on display at the town's Bell Museum. The sweetness of their sound brings to mind the delicious, local ostie di Agnone: communion-type wafers sandwiched together with a chocolate and nut filling.

Today Molise is strong catalyst for various types of tourism, and offers excellent accommodation facilities; in particular, comfortable agritourism properties, which are an added bonus when exploring a region where the delights of art and nature have been bequeathed like an unexpected legacy.

Did You know That…?
Romeo and Juliet's love story may be the most famous in the world, but apparently, Campobasso was also the scene of a relationship no less tragic and romantic. In 1587, young Delicata Civerra of the Crociati Confraternity and the handsome Fonzo Mastrangelo of the rival Trinitari Confraternity fell in love. The wrath of Delicata's father was so great when he heard the news that he locked her up in the damp tower of their castle, where the lovesick girl became seriously ill. Only when a priest interceded did the two families made peace, and so Fonzo was able to his beloved and ask her to marry him just before she died. The tomb of Delicata is preserved in San Giorgio church, the oldest in Campobasso.

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