|Borrello (CH), 2013, I partecipanti al "Cammina Molise". (Photo credit: Fiore S. Barbato)|
|Molise (Photo credit: PeterBoc)|
|Isernia (Molise) (Photo credit: fedeabmo)|
|Pettoranello del Molise (Photo credit: kiki follettosa)|
|Petrella Tifernina (CB - Molise) (Photo credit: fedeabmo)|
If you are looking for a European tourist destination, consider visiting Campobasso, the capital and largest town (only about fifty thousand) of Molise. Located in central Italy, Molise is one of the smallest regions of Italy and only gained regional status in 1963. Campobasso is geographically near Rome, except for the intervening Appenines Mountains. But if you want to visit the real Italy and be a million miles from Rome culturally, consider touring Campobasso. Be sure to read the companion article describing other sites in Molise.
Before I start telling you why you should visit Campobasso, let me state one reason that might, but should definitely not keep you from visiting; namely the weather. This city is almost one-half mile (700 meters) high, making it one of the coolest towns, weather wise, in the southern half of Italy. It snows a lot in the winter, the summer has an average temperature of approximately 22 degrees C (72 degrees F), and the fall is rainy. Actually, the first two can be quite positive. But the rain is still the rain.
You really will want to see the Castello Monforte, located atop of the Sant'Antonio Mountain. This castle was built in the mid-Fifteenth Century and rebuilt after earthquakes, the first one happened only six years later. It is perched on the hilltop that dominates the town. There are still the traces of ancient settlements including Samnite walls, which were built prior to the Christian era. Next to the castle you will find the Eleventh Century Chiesa della Madonna del Monte (Santa Maria Maggiore Church). Make sure that you don't miss the Cathedral, also called the Chiesa della Santissima Trinita (Church of the Holy Trinity), which was first built after the turn of the Sixteenth Century. It was rebuilt in a Neoclassical style after an earthquake destroyed it three centuries later. The city includes many other classical churches.
The Museo Provinciale Sannitico (Archeology Museum ) was recently opened in the Palazzo Mazzarotta. It boasts a fine collection of art and artifacts that are associated with those pre-Roman Samnites. The recently restored Villa de Capoa is a fine garden with statues and quite a wide variety of plant species. The town is also home to the University of Molise which serves ten thousand students, some of whom are at satellite campuses. And remember, wherever you go, whatever you do, be sure to taste some of the fine local wines.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but prefers trips to Italy and drinking fine Italian wine. He teaches computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his Italian travel website www.travelitalytravel.com and his global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com featuring weekly bargain wine reviews.