Exploring the Lesser-Known Region of Molise, in Italy

Tucked down in the southern part of Italy, right above the spur and boot, is the coastal region of Molise. This is the youngest region in the country, as it only split away from its neighbour in 1963. Italian villas in this area are perfect for exploring the Adriatic Coast, with its beautiful blue waters and Mediterranean vegetation just a stone throw away.

Although the region is not one of the most popular ones, this actually benefits the independent traveller. Here, you can still feel like you are discovering something new, exciting and authentically Italian. Villas near the sea make a great base to explore the coast, while those nearer the Apennine Ridge will take you into the heart of the Italian countryside. While you are in the region, there are some places that you simply must visit, including Campobasso, Isernia, and the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise.

Campobasso

Thought to have been founded prior to the 8th century as a fortified village where the castle now stands, Campobasso still provides an outstanding and imposing city that you can visit while staying in one of the excellently located Italian villas around Molise. The old town is home to the Castle Monforte, which was rebuilt in the 16th century by Count Nicholas II Monteforte, after the epic earthquake. The large castle is an impressive symbol of the city, with its square ramparts and panoramic views. Besides the castle, the city also boasts a cathedral, built in 1504 and reconstructed in 1805; the Romanesque Church of Saint Bartholomew; and the 12th century Gothic church of San Giorgio. You should also stop in to the Museo del Presepe, in the old town, to learn more about the antique recreations of the nativity scene.

Isernia

Still reflecting the layout of an ancient Roman town, Isernia is a must see if you are interested in history. The town was founded some 700,000 years ago, and in fact is home to some of the oldest human remains ever found. Though the city has faced a lot of destruction over the centuries – with earthquakes and wars – it was and is resilient. While there, be sure to stroll along the streets, taking note of their distinct layout, then head out to see the Fraterna Fountain, which was built in the 13th century out of Roman ruins.

The National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise

Often still just called Abruzzo National Park, the national park that covers these three regions is vast and filled with an interesting variety of flora and fauna. Staying in Italian villas near the park gives you the perfect excuse to enjoy some of the most unspoiled natural preserves in the country. Founded in 1922, the park now plays an important role in the conservation of animals like the bear and wolf. The best way to explore the park is by a horseback ride or cycling tour, which will allow you to really experience the wild spaces.

Jonathan Magoni is Senior Manager of Cottages to Castles, a family owned company specialising in high quality holiday villas, apartments and cottages in Italy. For spectacular Italian villas in Tuscany, Sicily, the Italian lakes, ski resorts or city centres, we offer only the very best. Discover Italy at your own pace and without time restrictions in our hand picked villas and cottages.

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