ECHO Molise
  Emigration and Cultural Heritage of the Molise
Molise Overview

Molise Flag

Fast Facts

Regional President and Parliament elected by popular vote every 5 years

Campobasso (84 towns)
and Isernia (52 towns)


Area: 4,438 sq km or 1,714 sqmi
(slightly larger than Rhode Island)


Population (2006):  320,907



·         Large number of small farms (wheat, beans, potatoes, olives, wine grapes, sunflowers, sheep)

·         Natural gas deposits at Larino

·         Fiat plant near Termoli


UNESCO Biospheres: 
Collemeluccio and Montedimezzo

"This is Home" 

In 1819, Richard Colt Hoare wrote of the area known today as the Molise that “it is somewhat singular that the interior of Italy should remain so little known, and so little frequented.”  Nearly 200 years later, these words still echo true.


The Molise is an ancient and noble land, with a wealth of archaeological finds dating to the Middle Paleolithic, as well as Samnite and Roman excavations.  It has alternately been invaded by Greeks, Carthaginians and Saracens, occupied by Germanic Goths [links to Barbarians article] and Lombards, and ruled by French and Spanish.  Emigration decimated its population in the late 19th and early 20th century.  Its political boundaries have at times included parts of Abruzzo, Puglia and Campania, and thus it shares phases of history with these regions.

Italy Region Map, author Gennarous wikimediaToday’s Molise is the newest and the second smallest region of Italy, formed in 1963 when it was separated from the region Abruzzi e Molise.  If not exact center on the Italian map, the Molise occupies a central position in the hearts and memories of its children.  For example, in her book Italian Days, Barbara Grizzuti Harrison wrote of her visit to the Molise, origin of her grandparents.  Her words eloquently describe the beauty and contradictory nature of the area:


“This is the center of Italy, heart, cradle, home of ancient races, oldest man, older than history.  Here one sees the earth as it was after the last sigh of creation, one sees it as if it were still becoming… and this seeing, which is a kind of sharing in the act of creation, inspires awe not unalloyed by dread.  The mountains seem still to be groaning, pushing themselves up toward the sky… And this is like riding waves of mountains to the beginning of the wild world.  The place where the world begins and the place where the world ends is the same place.  We are out of our world…


In these mountains, history and myth are equally plausible, impossible to separate.  We are riding the crests of the waves.  In fact there is a kind of tingle in the air that always means:  the sea; the sea is to the east of us, eventually the mountains find their home in it (an end to all

 travail), and the land knows it, and so, on top of this world, do we…


This is a peaceful land, a violent land, harsh, gentle, rich, poor, a land of blessing and of bondage.


This is home.” 




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