Molise: Wikis


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—  Region of Italy  —


Coat of arms
Country Italy
Capital Campobasso
 - President Michele Iorio (PdL)
 - Total 4,438 km2 (1,713.5 sq mi)
Population (2007-12-31)
 - Total 320,838
 Density 72.3/km2 (187.2/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
GDP/ Nominal € 6 billion (2006)

Coordinates: 41°41′59″N 14°36′40″E / 41.6997°N 14.6111°E / 41.6997; 14.6111

Molise (pronounced [moˈli(ː)ze]) is a region of Southern Italy, the second smallest of the regions. It was formerly (until 1963) part of the region of Abruzzi e Molise (with Abruzzo) and now a separate entity. The region covers 4,438 km² and has a population of about 300,000.



A landscape in Molise

Molise borders Abruzzo to the north-west, Lazio to the west, Campania to the south, Puglia to the south-east and the Adriatic Sea to the north-east. With an area of 4 438 km2, Molise is the smallest region in Southern Italy, and the youngest region in the country as a whole.

Molise is a typically inland and mountainous region, despite its 35 km of coast on the Adriatic. About 55% of the region is composed of mountains and the remaining 45% of uplands (interior and coastal uplands). The absence of lowlands and the predominance of mountainous areas constitute a natural barrier to the social and economic development of the region. Climate is directly influenced by topography: there is a maritime climate in the narrow coastal strip, a temperate one in the uplands and a continental climate in the more inland and mountainous areas.

Many of the towns in the interior have been almost abandoned as young people travel to the larger centres to find employment. There is a particularly rich cluster of communities in the Larino area. These are characteristic medieval hilltowns formed around a church, or - as in the case of Larino - a massive cathedral.


The ancient Cathedral of Larino is a prime example of Gothic in Italy.

Molise has been inhabited for thousands of years. The Samnites, along with the Frentani, dominated this region until arrival of the Romans. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476, Molise was conquered by the Ostrogoths in 535, and then, in 572, by the Lombards, being annexed to the Duchy of Benevento. In 860 Saracens destroyed Isernia, Telese, Alife, Sepino, Boiano and Venafro.

By the 10th century there were nine countdoms: Venafro, Larino, Trivento, Bojano, Isernia, Campomarino, Termoli, Sangro and Pietrabbondante. In 1095 the most powerful of them, Bojano, came under the rule of the Norman lord Hugo I of Molhouse, who most probably gave his name to the region.

The province enjoyed a resurgence towards the end of the 13th century, as part of the unified Kingdom of Naples. In the 16th century Molise was incorporated into the province of Capitanata (Apulia). In 1806 it became an autonomous province in the former Abruzzi region.

In the 19th century there was a general worsening of the economic conditions of the population, and this gave rise, after the newly established Kingdom of Italy (1861), to brigandage and a massive emigration, not only abroad but also to more industrialised areas of Italy.

Massive destruction occurred during World War II until the Allied forces were able to land at Termoli in September 1943. Huge Allied land forces were based in Campobasso, which was called "Maple Leaf City" by the Canadian troops.

Molise is the newest Italian region, since it was established in 1963, when the region Abruzzi e Molise was split in two. It became effective only in 1970.


Though there is a large Fiat plant (Termoli), the industrial sector is dominated by the building industry with small and medium-sized firms spread widely throughout the region. Another important industry is food processing: pasta, meat, milk products, oil and wine are the traditional products of the region. In the services sector the most important industries are distribution, hotels and catering, followed by transport and communications, banking and insurance. With few exceptions, in all sectors firms are small, and this explains the difficulties encountered when marketing products on a national scale[1].

After the earthquake of 2002 some of the communities in Molise became the focus of a generous government policy which contributed state money to individuals willing to make their homes more resistant to seismic activity. Larino, near Termoli, was a particular beneficiary of this policy and the town, already one of the most beautiful in the province, has been transformed. It was policy to return the houses to their historical colours and, based on careful research, the structures were painted in a range of soft pastel tones. As a result Larino has become an important centre for tourism and scores of expatriates from all over the world are returning to live in the revived centro storico (antique centre).

International tourism is becoming more evident largely as a result of the international flights from other European states, Great Britain, and North America which enter Pescara not far to the north in Abruzzo. The tourists are attracted by large expanses of unspoiled beaches, a relative lack of congestion, and the gentle pace of life.


Historical populations
Year Pop.  %±
1861 355,000
1871 374,000 5.4%
1881 382,000 2.1%
1901 395,000 3.4%
1911 396,000 0.3%
1921 383,000 −3.3%
1931 377,000 −1.6%
1936 388,000 2.9%
1951 407,000 4.9%
1961 358,000 −12.0%
1971 320,000 −10.6%
1981 328,000 2.5%
1991 331,000 0.9%
2001 321,000 −3.0%
2008 (Est.) 321,000 0.0%
Source: ISTAT 2001

The density of the population in Molise is well below the national average. In 2008, Molise registered 72.3 inhabitants per km2, compared to a national figure of 198.8. The region is subdivided into two provinces: Campobasso and Isernia, covering together 1.5% of the Italian territory and less than 1% of its population. The biggest province in terms of surface area is Campobasso (2,909 km2) and the smallest is Isernia (1,529 km2). The province of Campobasso is the most densely populated of the two provinces, with 79.4 inhabitants per km2, whereas Isernia registered 58.9 inhabitants per km2[2]. At the end of 2008 the most populous towns were Campobasso (51,247 inhabitants), Termoli (32,420) and Isernia (21,811).

In the period 1951-71, large-scale emigration to other countries of the European Union, to other parts of Italy and overseas led to a significant decline in the population of Molise. Negative net migration persisted until 1981. Large-scale emigration has caused many of the smaller towns and villages to lose over 60% of their population, while only a small number of larger towns have recorded significant gains. From 1982 to 1994, net migration has been positive, then followed by a negative trend until 2001. Between 1991 (330,900 inhabitants) and 2001 (320,601 inhabitants), the population of the region decreased by 3.1%[2]; since 2001 the population remained stable.

In the region there are two ethnic minorities: the Molisan Croats (5,000 people who speak an old Dalmatian dialect of the Croatian language) and the Molisan Albanians (Arbëreshë who speak an old dialect of the Albanian language which is now very different from the Albanian spoken on the other side of the Adriatic Sea). Molisan Albanians are generally of the Orthodox religion, while Molise Croats are in general Catholics.

Government and politics

Although the region has a center-right local government, at the April 2006 elections, Molise gave 50.5% of its votes to Romano Prodi of the centre-to-left Olive Tree party.

In November of the same year, Michele Iorio, centre-right candidate, won the regional election with over 54% of votes.

Administrative divisions

Molise comprises two provinces:

Molise Provinces.png

Province Area (km²) Population Density (inh./km²)
Province of Campobasso 2,909 231,921 79.7
Province of Isernia 1,529 88,931 58.2

International relations


Twin towns — Sister cities

Molise is twinned with:

See also



External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel


Molise is the youngest and least-known region of Italy.

  • Campobasso
  • Isernia
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun




  1. A region of southern Italy.




French Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia fr

Proper noun

Molise m.

  1. Molise


Italian Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia it

Proper noun

Molise m.

  1. Molise

Related terms

Simple English

Flag Coat of arms
File:Flag of [[Image:|75px|Coat of arms of Molise]]
File:Italy Regions Molise
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Country Italy
Capital Campobasso
President Michele Iorio (PdL)
Basic statistics
Area  4,438 km² (1,714 sq mi)
(Ranked 19th, 1.5 %)
Population 320,838 (12/2007)
(Ranked 19th, 0.5 %)
 - Density 72 /km² (187 /sq mi)
Other information
GDP/ Nominal € 6 billion (2006)

Molise is a region in the center of Italy on the Adriatic Sea. The capital is Campobasso. The population was about 322,000 in 2004.


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