Did you know that there is a region in Italy called Molise?
If you are looking for a quiet destination, with an uncontaminated charm and untouched by mass tourism but which is just as beautiful as Tuscany or Puglia, then this is the place! Ah, we almost forgot… here property prices are really very low.
But what can the land of Robert de Niro’s origins, a small and unknown region, offer? You may ask.
1. Pristine unspoilt beaches
The sea caresses the region for about 40 km of low and sandy beaches, ideal for families and the less adventurous. So from Montenero di Bisaccia to Petaccio, from Termoli – the most popular sea destination – to Campomarino, you can appreciate the beauty of clean waters without the inconveniences of the most crowded seaside resorts. Here in fact there is a good compromise between tranquillity and fun, relaxation and vitality.
Oh and don’t miss a daily trip by ferryboat from Termoli to the mesmerizing Tremiti Islands, which belong to Puglia region but are just in front of Molise shores.
2. The largest fire show in the world and centuries-old bells
There are numerous historical and archaeological exemplars in the region: from the monuments of Isernia to the ancient artisan activities of Agnone. The town founded in 1,000, has wisely protected its tradition of bells foundries and here you can find the history of the bells coming from all over Italy: from those of the Tower of Pisa to those of the Abbey of Montecassino. There you can also visit the International Museum of the bell. But every year, on December 24th, it also hosts the famous ‘ndocciata (from ‘ndoccia = torcia), the Christmas tradition linked to the most impressive fire show known in the world. It is a suggestive procession of flames and sparks that Pope John Paul II wanted to bring to the attention of the Romans and to the pilgrims from all over the world, welcoming it in St. Peter’s Square in 1996.
Or just think at Scapoli, known internationally as the homeland of the bagpipes, an instrument that accompanied the activity of the shepherds. Here the tradition of the ancient factory still survives and boasts a dedicated festival that since 1975 has been attracting Italian and overseas visitors.
3. Sport in full swing!
Blankets of snow glaze the mountain peaks well into spring. Capracotta is a paradise for cross-country skiing, while Campitello Matese is one of the most innovative and well-equipped ski resorts in southern Italy, nestled in a natural amphitheatre of rare splendour. Though it is such a small region, many other places are very popular with lovers of winter sports like Pescopennataro, Vastogirardi, Pietrabbondante and San Pietro Avellana with their modern facilities immersed in the atmospheric magic of rural villages.
It is also ideal for those who want to go mountain biking or trekking, or enjoy long walks surrounded by the flora and fauna of the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise and its natural oases.
4. Natural green highways
Traditions, customs and ancient trades, that have been lost in other areas of Italy, still exist here today. Have you ever heard of ‘tratturi’? They are ancient “paths” that shepherds would travel along seasonally to lead their flocks in search of new pastures and a suitable climate for raising sheep. They are now real “green highways” in nature that from ancient times have connected places and herds of animals. Walking along a ‘tratturo‘ is an easy experience suitable for all. Accessible all year round, with a relaxed gradient on open terrain, they are rarely arduous. You could also take a break at one of the inns or old, welcoming holiday farms that are dotted along the way.
5. A triumph of flavours
You should taste the local wines and the many typical products, such as the Isernia truffle and the white one of San Pietro Avellana, where there is also a dedicated fair. Do not miss the opportunity to participate in some local food festivals (sagre) and dive into the soul of the region: from the torchlight procession of Agnone, the ‘Ndocciata, to the lamb festival in Capracotta, the Pezzata.
6. Easy to get to
In Molise there are no airports, but it is perfectly served by those of Rome, Naples or Pescara from where one can easily reach the area by car or train in a short time.
7. Own a home on a small budget
On average prices here are about 50% lower than those of more famous Italian regions, such as Tuscany or Liguria. For example you could get a detached house with land and ready to be lived in for around € 60,000/€ 70,000 per square metre. So you should head to Molise now and purchase a home before other people discover this secret slice of paradise and prices begin to increase.
Have you been taking notes?
Now all you have to do is get lost in this small but varied region, just waiting to be discovered with its wealth of different landscapes where activities and pastimes of all kinds can be found, and let’s not forget the many places of historical and cultural interest.